I have previously written about the deficiencies in the current divorce law. Whilst there is only one sole ground for divorce, namely that the relationship has irretrievably broken down, this needs evidencing on the basis of five facts and this is where the problems begin.
The facts that can be relied on include: adultery, unreasonable behaviour and desertion, all of which lay the blame for the relationship ending at the feet of the other spouse. As you can imagine, this is not the most auspicious way to commence negotiations about sensitive issues such as child arrangements or finances.
The government has now agreed to overhaul this archaic system dating back to 1969. Irretrievable breakdown will remain the sole ground but gone will be the five facts. Very importantly, the ability to defend a divorce will be removed, but the process will take a minimum of six months, to allow reflection and the possibility of reconciliation.
The husband and wife will have the ability to jointly petition for divorce, evidencing the mutuality of the decision. The one-year bar will remain so you will not be able to issue divorce proceedings until a year has elapsed from the date of your marriage.
The Queen’s speech has confirmed that the government will be pressing ahead with this long-awaited reform, however at present, I still cannot give my clients any precise idea when the new law will come into operation. This means that, for the time being, we continue to have to allege fault to commence divorce proceedings.
If you have any questions about this or any other family matter, please call Gemma Gillespie on tel: 01892 515022
This blog is not intended as legal advice that can be relied upon and CooperBurnett does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of its contents.