family law sudbury 2

The proposal of a no-fault divorce

There is a strong argument being put forward which states that the currently divorce legislation in this country is outdated. A proposal is currently being made by various ministers that there should be an option to successfully obtain a divorce without blame being attributed.

The current law states that a spouse can only obtain a divorce by establishing adultery, behaviour, desertion or having been separated from their husband or wife for either 2 years or 5 years. It is suggested that the current law raises hostilities between the parties involved and it often leads to a much more acrimonious process. By introducing a no-fault divorce, it is hoped that the former spouses are able to proceed in a more harmonious manner, with the increased chance of remaining amicable during the divorce and thereafter.

This argument is particularly relevant when there are children involved. It is often the case that children are unfortunately affected by the hostilities that can be created during a divorce. The proposal of a no-fault divorce will assist with neither party blaming the other for why the marriage broke down and it will greatly assist both parties to effectively co-parent in the years after they have separated.

There has been considerable opposition to this proposal on the basis that it would make it too easy for a couple to obtain a divorce. The argument suggests that such a proposal would question the sanctity of marriage and it would provide married couples with an easy option to ending a marriage, as opposed to using all their efforts to try and make it work.

The current law does not allow a husband and wife to end a marriage without raising details as to why the marriage broke down, unless they have been separated for a period of over two years. In the recent case which proceeded to the Supreme Court, a wife was stuck in a “loveless” marriage and she argued that it would not be reasonable to remain married to her husband. The husband opposed the divorce and the Court refused to grant a divorce to the wife as she had not met the relevant criteria within the current legislation.

There are often a number of reasons for why a marriage has broken down and this does not necessarily involve one person being at fault. The current law does not allow married couples to end a marriage on such grounds, unless they have had a period of separation. This means that they are forced to remain married and remain attached to each other financially until they are able to prove that they have been separated for over two years. This often leads to both parties remaining unhappy and unable to move on with their lives, until the law allows them to bring the marriage to an end.

The proposal of a no-fault divorce will assist married couples to remain amicable, move on with their lives and to effectively co-parent their children, without the hostilities that a divorce can often create due to the current law.

Written by Rebecca Smith – Bates Wells & Braithwaite – 01787 880440

Rebecca Smith

Rebecca joined Bates Wells and Braithwaite in February 2019. Rebecca initially qualified as a Legal Executive and later as a Solicitor. She has over fifteen years’ experience in a wide range of family disputes having previously trained and worked as a family solicitor in Bury St Edmunds.

Rebecca approved by the Law Society Family Law Accreditation Scheme and is a member of Resolution.

In her spare time, Rebecca enjoys horse-riding, walking and cooking with family and friends.


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Last updated: 11/01/2021