Divorce law reform is finally on the horizon

Crushed wedding cake
Originally published on 28th September 2018 at 11:19 AM
Divorce law reform is finally on the horizon

Important update: in April 2019, the government confirmed that England & Wales will (at some point) change the current laws and introduce no-fault divorce. The information in this blog is still valid until the laws change, however when this will be has not yet been confirmed. For updates on no-fault divorce, please enter your email address below and we'll alert you about any important changes.


 

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; adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, two years separation or five years separation. 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. Which leaves many couples, who want to move on with their lives, with only one option, which is to enter the blame game by using unreasonable behaviour.

If you’re applying for a divorce using ‘unreasonable behaviour’ one of you must list examples of your spouse’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.

amicable supports the introduction of no-fault divorce, if you feel the same, here’s your chance to add your voice and support. The government is asking for help throughout this consultation, so have your say and share your thoughts here.

About the author

Hannah Hodgkinson is Head of Marketing at amicable. Hannah has over six years experience working for global NGOs and private consultancies and has a passion for marketing for companies with a social purpose

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