Back in October MP Richard Bacon introduced to Parliament, under the Ten Minute Rule, the no fault divorce bill. If passed this bill makes provision for the dissolution of a marriage or civil partnership where each party separately makes a declaration that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. The bill is expected to have its second reading and debate at the beginning of December 2015. Resolution, the organisation that trains family lawyers, worked with Richard Bacon MP ahead of his introduction to the bill.
Currently, a petition for dissolution of marriage or civil partnership can only be lodged on the grounds that the marriage has broken down irretrievably and that one or more of the following five facts have been proven.
The five facts needed to prove a marriage breakdown
- That the other person has behaved unreasonably. This often leads to a couple having to make unpleasant allegations against the other to facilitate their petition;
- That the other person has committed adultery;
- One party has deserted the other for a period of two years or more;
- That the parties have lived apart for two years with a consent order;
- That the parties have lived apart for five years and no consent is necessary.
Members of Resolution very much support a no fault divorce being brought in. If bought in, it would mean that where parties agree that the marriage has broken down a petition can be filed, with them both separately making a declaration that it has irretrievably broken down but without having to satisfy the court of any of the other facts.
The bill is fully supported by myself and other family solicitors in Resolution as it is a welcome change to the law around divorce. Many couples separate amicably and the last thing they want is to make unpleasant allegations against the other, which is necessary under the present law if they want to obtain a divorce without waiting two years.
You can read more about Resolution and their views on the no fault divorce bill on their website.