Divorce Law: How Easy is it to get divorced?
Does divorce law need updating?
Divorce Law in England and Wales is now over 50 years old. Couples seeking a divorce must spend at least two years separated or one must blame the other for the breakdown of the marriage citing either the adultery or the unreasonable behaviour of the other. Even if both parties agree that the relationship is over, a divorce cannot be obtained on the basis of “irreconcilable differences” as is often thought. So even in those circumstances if a couple wishes to avoid waiting two years from the date of separation before commencing divorce proceedings, one must blame the other.
Resolution, the organisation for family lawyers and other family law professionals nationwide and which has about 6,500 members is committed to changing divorce law to make divorce easier. This could easily be achieved by changing the law to introduce no fault divorce.
This may sound controversial and contrary to the views of many who believe that marriage is for life. However, unfortunately the reality is that for many people their marriage does not last and divorce is difficult enough, often dealing with issues surrounding children and the family finances, without having to apportion blame for the breakdown of the marriage in a legal document. In any event who is to blame for the breakdown of the marriage (and often there is a portion of blame on both parties) does not have any impact on the decisions that the Court might make in relation to children and financial matters.
A divorce which is based on adultery or unreasonable behaviour can therefore create conflict when none previously existed or make worse a situation in which there is already a significant amount of bad feeling.
Proposed changes to the Law
It is the view of many family lawyers that by removing the need to blame the other party in the divorce process will increase the chances of successful non-court dispute resolution regarding children and financial matters. What is proposed is a new divorce procedure where one or both parties can give notice that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. The divorce can then proceed and after a period of six months, if either or both parties still think that they are making the right decision, the divorce can be finalised.
James Haworth, Director in charge of the Family Law Department at Lawson West agrees that the approach of Resolution, of which he is a member, is correct. “I believe that removing fault from divorce will assist parties to resolve their disputes in a less confrontational manner. It will not result in more divorces as some fear although it will not help every case. However, any step which helps to reduce the conflict in what is an extremely traumatic and difficult time, must be welcomed”.
Seeking Professional Advice on Family Law
If you are looking for advice on family law, please do not hesitate to contact Lawson-West. Lawson-West are a national provider of expert family law advice with a wealth of experience in this field and welcome a discussion with you regarding your circumstances and potential claim. Initial no-obligation appointments costing £100 +VAT are available.
Please contact us on 0116 212 1000or 01858 445 480, alternatively fill out a contact formon our website, and we will get in touch as soon as possible. The team is happy to arrange a meeting at a time and location that suits you.