The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill is in the process of being brought into UK legislation, representing a radical reform of the divorce process. It essentially brings into effect provisions for a no fault divorce.
WHAT IS THE DIVORCE PROCESS?
The current divorce process requires all parties to rely on one of five factors to support the ground that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. Only two of the factors are non-fault based. The most common factor is unreasonable behaviour which requires one party to have to provide detail as to why the other party has effectively been a bad spouse. The current fault-based divorce system increases animosity and hostility between the parties which can cause matters to become more costly.
HOW WILL THE NEW SYSTEM WORK?
Removing the fault based divorce process will enable parties to resolve their issues in a manner which provides a fair outcome to everyone in the family, especially the children and thus remove the element of conflict which can be so damaging to all involved.
The Bill proposes to retain the irretrievable breakdown as the sole ground for divorce and dissolution, but to change how it is evidenced. All that will be required is that one or both parties will be required to file a statement of irretrievable breakdown. This statement would then be confirmed after a minimum waiting period of six months. Provided that all the procedural requirements are met, it would no longer be possible to object to the divorce or dissolution. There will be no need to cite facts concerning unreasonable behaviour or adultery.
WHY IS REFORM NEEDED?
The current divorce law – which is now nearly 50 years old – has been subject to criticism for decades. It is overly complicated and creates a blame game. It remains to be seen whether reform will happen.
Here at Sanders Witherspoon LLP we are Resolution members and are committed to reducing conflict and agreeing to a non-confrontational way of working that puts the best interests of the children first. We always seek the best outcome for our clients and try to reduce cost wherever possible.
If you would like any further information on the content of this article, or on divorce in general, please do not hesitate to contact our family department on 01277 221010, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.