Motion debated in the House of Commons for "no fault" divorce

A ten minute motion will be debated in the House of Commons today at the instigation of Conservative MP Richard Bacon seeking to bring in a Bill providing for “no-fault” divorce in England and Wales.

The current law provides that the only ground for divorce is the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage. This requires one of five “facts”:

  • Adultery; or
  • Unreasonable behaviour; or
  • Desertion for two years; or
  • Two years separation and consent to the divorce; or
  • Five years separation

Therefore unless the spouses have lived apart for at least two years (and they both consent to the divorce) blame has to be apportioned. This often causes unnecessary hostility at a time when relations are already strained through relationship breakdown. The reasons in law for the breakdown of a marriage are usually irrelevant to the financial outcome. The law as it currently stands sadly encourages unneeded conflict and dispute.

The push for a “no fault” divorce based system is not new. It spans over many years. Lawyers have campaigned for this change for a long time. Parliament has already given a green light in principle, passing “no fault” divorce legislation in 1996 but subsequent governments did not implement it.

Resolution, a national organisation for family law solicitors across England and Wales is campaigning for a change on the law. Lucy Loizou, a Partner at The International Family Law Group LLP and also an elected member of Resolution’s National Committee says:

“A change to the law is long overdue. The archaic concept of blame has no place in law in divorce cases. Tensions are already high when a marriage breaks down. There is no need for the law to increase the stress that people have to deal with during this difficult time” 

If you would like to discuss any of the matters raised in this article, please contact Lucy Loizou on 0203 178 5668 or by email by clicking here.

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