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The no fault divorce – does it exist?

It has been argued many a time in recent years by politicians, lawyers and relationship experts alike that the current laws relating to divorce in the UK simply do not reflect the reality that, for many divorcing couples in today’s society, neither the husband nor the wife are to ‘blame’ for the breakdown of the marriage.

The truth is that, sometimes, a married couple just mutually decide to part ways and it is often nobody’s fault.

Unfortunately, at present, there is no provision in the divorce laws for a non-fault divorce in the UK. In order to obtain a divorce, the spouse that starts the divorce proceedings must rely on one of the following five facts:-

• Adultery
• Unreasonable behaviour
• Two years separation (where both parties agree)
• Five years separation
• Desertion

This means that, unless both the husband and wife are willing to wait more than two years to start the divorce process, a divorce can only be obtained by one spouse by ‘blaming’ the other spouse.

As recently as October 2015, reforms to the existing divorce laws were debated in the House of Commons. This re-introduced the concept of a non-fault divorce which would require the divorcing couple to separately make a declaration that the marriage or civil partnership has irretrievably broken down, without one spouse having to rely on one of the five facts listed above. These reforms will be reconsidered in Parliament on Friday 11 March 2016.  Read more here about the No Fault Divorce Bill 2015-16.

The idea of pointing the finger and blame in order to obtain a divorce will cause many divorcing couples distress and anxiety, particularly those who wish to remain on amicable terms after their divorce. This is especially the case where the divorcing couple have children or still need to resolve property and financial matters. It has long been argued that, in forcing one spouse to throw mud at the other to achieve a divorce, conflict and hostility is more likely to ensue and, consequently, this makes it harder to resolve matters relating to their children, property and finances.

If your marriage has broken down and you are keen to minimise the effect of pointing the finger and blaming your husband or wife, the Matrimonial team at ORJ Solicitors can advise you on how to best achieve a divorce in a non-confrontational manner.

The Matrimonial team at ORJ Solicitors offer a free 30-minute consultation at our offices to assess and advise you in relation to your divorce, children, financial and/or property concerns.

To arrange a free, confidential discussion with our family law team, please call us on: 01785 223440.