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The No Fault Divorce Bill: does blame really matter?

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The No Fault Divorce Bill, which was introduced to parliament in October 2015, is due to have its second reading in the House of Commons on 22nd April.

The bill proposes that separating couples should be granted a divorce without having to provide evidence of a particular reason for the break-up, meaning one party wouldn’t have to bear the responsibility of the blame for the marriage breakdown.

Under current rules, when issuing divorce proceedings, couples who have been separated for less than two years must divorce on the basis of either adultery or unreasonable behaviour.

If unreasonable behaviour is the reason for the divorce then a full statement must be provided by the petitioner detailing the alleged behaviour.

Irreconcilable differences is not currently a ground for divorce. The alternative is to wait for two years from the date of separation to pass, but many separating couples are not willing to wait that long to move on with their lives.

The No Fault Divorce Bill proposes to amend this, enabling former couples to divorce without blame.

It has been suggested that if no fault divorces become available, then it will be easier to divorce and this may result in more marriage breakdowns.

The main benefit of a no fault divorce however would be that a separating couple can divorce without ‘mudslinging’ and bringing up issues from the past which may inevitably create bad feeling. Avoiding this animosity will be particularly important if there are children involved or if the separating couple need to resolve financial or property issues.

While it remains to be seen whether no fault divorce will become available in the UK, it would inevitably make the legal aspects of divorce more straightforward for many separating couples.

For additional information on divorce or for advice on any family law matter, contact Janine Hutson on 01772 258321


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