Divorce law reform is finally on the horizon

Originally published on 28th September 2018 at 10:19 AM
Reading time: 2 mins
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Divorce laws in England and Wales have been due a review for some time now. It’s been a staggering 50 years since the last review, and in the words of David Gauke, “the ‘blame game’ that currently exists helps no one. It creates unnecessary antagonism and anxiety at an already trying time for couples and in particular, where there are children.”

The current reasons you can use to divorce your spouse under English and Welsh law are;

The problem is, the majority of these reasons aren’t relevant for couples in England and Wales. Additionally, most couples don’t want to wait two years once they’ve made the tough decision to separate. This leaves many couples who want to move on with their lives, with only one option, which is to enter the blame game using unreasonable behaviour.

If you’re applying for a divorce using ‘unreasonable behaviour’, one of you must list examples of your ex’s behaviour that are strong enough to warrant ending your marriage. It’s a tough balancing act trying to find reasons strong enough to pass through the court yet not so contentious as to overly upset your ex. Unreasonable behaviour is also often a trigger for acrimony, as one person must read a list of their misdemeanors in black and white. Not a good start to the divorce process and an extra hurdle couples must navigate at an already emotional time.

The government’s proposed plans to introduce no-fault divorce responds to what society wants, with a recent YouGov poll showing that 69% of people support no fault divorce. This change will be a positive move towards divorce becoming a less painful process for individuals, couples and families.

Related content

In this episode of The Divorce Podcast, Kate is joined by International Family Lawyer David Hodson OBE. Kate and David discuss how divorce has changed over the years and how expectations of our new generation clash with the expectations of the past. The case for a no-fault divorce. The conceptuality of marriage and divorce. The options for a new way to divorce and what we can learn from other countries.

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