Time for no fault divorce?

28 March 2012

In a speech to family lawyers at the Resolution conference in Leeds last weekend, the President of the Family Division, Sir Nicholas Wall, has again called for the introduction of a new no fault based divorce which will allow parties to divorce quickly.  

Currently, in order to petition for divorce immediately (ie without having to rely on two years’ separation - provided you have the other party’s consent - or five years’ separation), the petitioner has to rely on one of the fault based facts: adultery or unreasonable behaviour.  Sir Nicholas Wall commented that the divorce process is now an administrative rather than a legal one, and the need to prove that you are the “innocent” party is no longer necessary. 

Requests for no fault divorce have been made in the past but these were met with opposition from those who believe that the ability to petition for an immediate, no fault based, divorce will make it too easy for people to separate. 

Whether any legislative changes will be made remains to be seen.

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