A call to action has been made to the main political parties to conduct a long overdue review of divorce laws in the UK, with emphasis placed on introducing no fault divorce.

The call comes from Resolution, an association of family lawyers with over 6,500 members. They argue the general election on June 8th provides the ideal opportunity to address their proposed reforms to current divorce laws. The proposed reforms are – no fault divorce, basic rights for cohabiting couples, fair access to the justice system and more financial clarity on divorce.

Resolution believe these changes would “make a huge, positive difference to the lives of hundreds and thousands of people that separate each year”

Nigel Shephard, Chairman of Resolution, believes the current laws do not allow for couples to divorce amicably, forcing them to play the ‘blame game’ and ultimately leading to unnecessary conflict.

Since the letter, there has been considerable support for the introduction of no fault divorce, with Supreme Court judge Lord Wilson, president of the family division of the high court James Munby and another supreme court justice Lady Hale all voicing their support for no fault divorce.

Is a reform needed?

It is a commonly held misconception that married couples can opt to divorce on the basis of irreconcilable differences as is possible in the USA (and well-known thanks to Hollywood!)

However, unfortunately under the current law there is only one grounds available for divorce that is “irretrievable breakdown” which must be supported by one of 5 facts.

With 3 of these facts relying on parties having already been separated for a minimum of 2 years, for those who do not want to wait, this leaves just adultery and unreasonable behaviour as the options for an immediate application for divorce.

Reform is needed as the blame or ‘name and shame’ game serves not only to increase hostility between the parties but actually encourages acrimony in an already strained relationship while parties in some cases try to think up ideas of how ‘unreasonable’ their former partner has been, often clutching at straws to satisfy the Court their marriage has broken down irretrievably.

It is understandable that clients are confused about the legal requirements of a divorce, which can make getting a divorce considerably more lengthy and complicated than it needs to be.

This time could be better spent concentrating on the important issues, like children and the division of the assets of the marriage.

If you’re thinking of obtaining a divorce and you want to find out more information about how we can help, give us a call on 0161 930 5151, e-mail familyteam@gorvins.com

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