In the same month that Gary Lineker and his wife announced their divorce whilst remaining amicable and the greatest of friends, I was pleased to hear that a ‘No Fault Divorce Bill’, proposed by MP Richard Bacon, was due to receive its second reading in Parliament.
Divorce – What is the current law?
Current law, enacted over 45 years ago, requires an irretrievable breakdown of marriage to be proven by one of five facts. Two of these are immediate but based on fault such as adultery or behaviour. The remaining three alternatives require periods of prior separation ranging from two to five years.
What is the new ‘No Fault Divorce Bill’?
The Bill proposes the introduction of a sixth option – whereby each spouse declares that their marriage or civil partnership has irretrievably broken down.
Interestingly, senior Judges including Lady Hale, Deputy President of the Supreme Court, and Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division, have voiced their support for a change to ‘no fault divorce’.
Resolution, the national organisation of family lawyers committed to non-confrontational divorce, separation and other family issues, also welcomes the Bill as a step towards removing fault from divorce altogether. Its recent research has found that 27% of divorcing couples have admitted that their allegations of fault were not the real reason for divorce but the easiest option.
As a specialist family lawyer and a longstanding member of Resolution, I am firmly committed to Resolution’s principles and fully support the prospect of ‘no fault divorces’. I believe that this will enable parties to be free from discussions of ‘blame’ which can sometimes escalate into conflict. I also believe that this will enable couples to concentrate on resolving crucial issues regarding children, property and finances.
Whether the Bill will proceed remains to be seen. If it does not, I wonder if it may pave the way for the Government to bring in new legislation.
If you are going through a separation, I recommend talking to a family lawyer as early as possible. Specialist advice will enable you to understand the process and help you to make informed decisions as to how you wish to proceed.
For further information on ‘no fault divorce’ or any other Family Law matter, please contact our Family Law team on 0161 475 7676.
You can read more about ‘no fault divorce’ and the current facts needed to prove a marriage breakdown, in our earlier blog: ‘The No Fault Divorce Bill: Let’s Shelve The Blame!’