Family Lawyers and Resolution members have been campaigning for a ‘no fault divorce’ system for years, in an attempt to reduce conflict between divorcing couples who are being forced to blame the other if they have not been separated for two years or more.
First promised by the government in April 2018, The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill entered Parliament on 7 January 2020 and if approved, it is set to end the ‘blame game’ for divorcing couples.
The case of Owens v Owens demonstrated a need for family law reform. In this case, Mrs Owens attempted to divorce her husband on the grounds of his unreasonable behaviour. Mr Owens defended the petition. In July 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that the Mrs Owens could not demonstrate that her husband’s behaviour was such that she could not reasonably be expected to live with him and ruled that Mrs Owens could not divorce her husband until she had lived apart from him for 5 years.
The new law, once passed, will mean that instead of one party having to blame the other for the breakdown of the relationship, a couple can mutually cite ‘irretrievable breakdown’ as the sole ground for wanting to obtain a divorce. It is also understood that there will be an option for a joint application for divorce.
It is always best to speak to a family law professional who can talk you through your options and find the one that best suits you and your family.
Please contact Yasmin Iqbal if you would like to arrange an initial consultation.