The vast majority of people favour a change to the law to allow for so-called “no fault” divorce, a recent survey has found.
Under the present system, a couple who wish to divorce must give the court a reason to grant the petition. Acceptable grounds include evidence of adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, or separation (five years without consent or two years with consent). However, the poll, which was carried out at the end of last year, suggests that as many as 85 per cent of respondents believe that no fault divorce should also be available.
No-fault divorce does not require that either party admit wrongdoing for a divorce to be granted. This reflects a substantial proportion of divorces that end with mutual consent. However, the law as it currently stands can lead to needlessly acrimonious separations as couples effectively have to apportion blame. Regardless, divorce generally can be secured by anyone who wants one. The law is therefore out of step with the reality of relationship breakdown and how couples wish to deal with it.
There has been a growing movement to question current divorce law, with no-fault proponents claiming a change would make for faster, less stressful divorces that were more amicable and better for any children involved. Last December Conservative MP Richard Bacon presented a private members bill to the House of Commons with the hope of reforming the law. Jo Edwards, chair of family law organisation Resolution, commented, “We know that our current fault-based divorce system achieves nothing besides escalating conflict during divorce. It does not act as a deterrent, nor does it help couples to salvage their marriage. The latest data from the Office of nstional Statistics shows that 114,720 people divorced in England and Wales in 2013. despite fault-based petitions. If MPs are serious abnout reducing family conflict and the trauma that can be caused by divorce, I would urge them to support the bill as a welcome step towards removing the requirement of fault from divorce."
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