Divorce Law Overhaul – Divorce set to become easier!
As it currently stands, couples wanting a divorce must wait until they have lived apart for two years , or five years if one party doesn’t agree, if neither party wants to raise issues of fault within the marriage such as adultery, desertion or other behaviour that makes continuing to live together unreasonable. The only way to avoid the two year delay is for one party to blame the other for the breakdown of the marriage. As a result of many parties not wanting to wait two years, current divorce law sees many couples starting the painful process of separation with the ‘blame game’, in order to obtain a divorce.
Recently, following the case of Owens v Owens in 2018, the Law Commission recommended a new “no fault” divorce law be implemented. This area of law received attention as the Supreme Court would not grant a divorce even though Mr and Mrs Owens had been living separately since 2015, as Mr Owens would not consent to the divorce and challenged Mrs Owens’ position that he was to blame for its breakdown. The public demand for change to the law arose after the case, as based on the current law Mrs Owens must now wait until 2020 to apply for a divorce on the grounds of five years’ separation without consent.
Subsequently, the Lord Chancellor David Gauke, himself a former solicitor, issued a consultation paper on reforming the law in July 2018 in response to the growing view that divorce law was outdated and over-complicated. Responses were overwhelmingly in support of the change, and in February 2019 it was confirmed that changes would be made, though no set date has been given yet.
The “no-fault” divorce law will enable couples to get a divorce without either party having to place blame on the other. Hopefully, once implemented this will simplify the process whilst allowing couples to focus on making necessary financial arrangements, or arrangements for children.
We at Alker Ball Healds fully support the proposed changes to divorce law. The breakdown of a marriage is stressful enough without the need for parties to begin blaming each other for why the marriage has come to an end. Taking away the need to attribute blame when seeking a divorce will remove this initial conflict to those couples who want to obtain a divorce faster than two years, and should hopefully ease tensions in relation to resolving financial matters, or arrangements for children.
If you would like any further information in relation to your divorce, or any family law advice, please contact the family law team at Alker Ball Healds. We offer a free, no-obligation 30 minute consultation to discuss any matters you may be facing, and we can assist you with whatever issues your own marriage break-up faces.
We are justifiably proud that your free interview will be with a qualified solicitor, either Andrew Leah our Head of Department a 24 year qualified solicitor, Law Society Family Law Panel member of 19 years, or his solicitor colleague Rob Webster, who is a dual qualified solicitor of both England and Wales, and New Zealand, and member of Resolution – a body created to promote non-confrontational resolutions to family law problems.