Family lawyers urge ministers to press on with ‘no-fault’ divorce

Published: 16 May 2017

Category: Legal News

The family lawyers group, Resolution, is calling on the government to introduce a no-fault divorce system as soon as possible.

It says the momentum gathering for change should not be delayed because ministers may be preoccupied by major issues like Brexit.

The move follows the high-profile case involving Tina Owens and her husband Hugh. Mrs Owens was refused a divorce because her husband’s behaviour was not considered to be unreasonable.

Resolution says the current divorce system effectively encourages couples to engage in conflict and blame to get the divorce they want.

Nigel Shepherd, the national chair of Resolution, said no fault divorce has received increasing levels of support from the public and leading members of the family law community. He said: “It’s simply wrong in this day and age that someone should be forced to stay in a loveless marriage because the behaviour in the divorce petition wasn’t deemed ‘unreasonable’ enough”.

Mr Shepherd said it is time to “end the blame game” and said the government must not let Brexit get in the way of it acting quickly to ensure there are no more cases like the Owens. “In the face of this overwhelming support for a change in law to allow for no fault divorce, it does beg the question, what is the government waiting for?

“There are more than 110,000 divorces each year – every day the government delays, more than 300 couples get a divorce. That’s 600 people, every day, running the gauntlet of a system that actively encourages conflict and blame”.

Please contact Claire Rutter in our Family Team if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of family law.