Divorce is difficult enough. The legal requirement to assign blame makes it harder for couples to reach an amicable agreement.
It also makes it harder for family justice professionals to help them resolve issues in a constructive way, in line with Resolution’s Code of Practice.
In a recent survey of Resolution members, over 90% agree that no fault divorce should be available to separating couples.
Our divorce law is now over 50 years old. Couples seeking a divorce in England and Wales must either spend a minimum of two years separated or one must blame the other for the marriage breakdown, citing adultery or unreasonable behaviour. Even if both partners mutually agree the relationship is over, they still must apportion blame if they wish to waive the two-year waiting period.
In 2015, 60% of divorces in England and Wales were granted on adultery or unreasonable behaviour. By contrast in Scotland where divorce law is different, this percentage was only 6%.
This often creates conflict and makes reaching a mutually acceptable agreement much more difficult. We’re particularly concerned about the impact conflict and confrontation between separating parents has on their children.
Removing the need to blame from the divorce process will increase chances of successful non-court dispute resolution, in turn reducing the burden on the family court.
Resolution proposes a new divorce procedure, where one or both partners can give notice that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. The divorce can then proceed and, after a period of six months, if either or both partners still think they are making the right decision, the divorce is finalised.