Bulletins Campaign | May 17, 2018

Resolution campaign: No fault divorce

In relation to a divorce, currently the Law in England and Wales only allows “no fault” to be attributed to either party after a minimum period of two years since separation (the two years separation with consent ground. Other grounds include 5 years separation – no consent required – or desertion). Otherwise, in order to proceed immediately (provided the parties have been married for at least a year) the Petitioner (the person applying for a divorce) must rely on one of the “fault based” grounds of either the other person’s adultery or unreasonable behaviour.

Resolution is an organisation of family lawyers committed to dealing with matters in a constructive and non-confrontational manner and tomorrow (17 May 2018) they are having a Thunderclap as a start of their (ongoing) campaign for a change in the current divorce law.

This is following their survey of family lawyers, of which the results demonstrated (in part) that:

  • 67% of those surveyed found that the current law makes it more difficult for separated parties to reach an agreement; and
  • 80% believed that the introduction of “no-fault” divorce would make it more likely that parties would  reach an agreement outside of court.

In addition, the survey found that 60% of the respondents to the survey had experienced lawyers drafting divorce petitions in more aggressive terms than previously – prior to the case of Owens v Owens (which I previously wrote about: Owens v Owens). Of course that often isn’t a great start to proceedings between parties and it can often raise tensions – the exact opposite of what we as lawyers should be doing.

It will certainly be interesting to see whether reforms are made to  the current divorce law and whether no-fault divorce (which continues to be a “hot topic”) will be introduced