No Fault Divorces Introduced To End Mud Slinging
The government has confirmed that legislation introducing no-fault divorce will be introduced after launching a consultation in the autumn of 2021 on reforming the law. This measure would eliminate the need for divorcing spouses to wait for years or assign blame before the divorce is finalized. The government has made plans to remove fault from the divorce process on a legislative footing as justice secretary David Gauke pledged to end unnecessary ‘mudslinging.’ The lord chancellor said he was proud to introduce the Divorce, Dissolution, and Separation Bill to the House of Commons.
Landmark reforms introducing no-fault divorce
The presentation of a statement of irretrievable breakdown will replace the obligation to provide proof of behavior or independent “facts.” The option to dispute the divorce decision will be eliminated. The court will be allowed to issue a conditional order 20 weeks from the beginning of the proceedings.
Historically, one spouse was required to accuse the other of “unreasonable behavior” or adultery before a divorce could be granted, or endure years of separation. This was the case regardless of whether a couple had mutually agreed to split. The case of Tina Owens, in which the Supreme Court declared in July 2018 that she could not divorce her husband until a period of five years had passed because she had not proven any other grounds, exemplified the demand to reform the legislation on divorce, which had been increasing for some time.
Following the introduction of the Act, the government has also pledged to examine the rules regarding financial settlements following a divorce, such as the division of assets and support payments.
What does this act mean for the applicants?
A spouse or couple can now jointly file for divorce on the grounds that their marriage has irretrievably broken down. It eliminates unwarranted finger-pointing and acrimony at a time when emotions are already high and prevents youngsters from witnessing their parents’ mudslinging. The Act also establishes a new minimum timeline of 20 weeks between the commencement of proceedings and the filing of a conditional divorce petition. This will provide time for reflection and maybe a reversal, or if reconciliation is not feasible, to agree on future arrangements regarding children, finances, and property.
Avoiding mud-slinging could also make resolving financial matters and arrangements for children much less stressful and enable easier co-parenting in the future. No-fault divorce could also see the ending of a marriage move from a relatively expensive court-based exercise to a largely administrative one, making the divorce process itself potentially quicker and cheaper.
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