A no fault divorce means that neither party to a marriage is required to be held responsible for the marriage break-up and a divorce petition can be filed on neutral grounds. In comparison to a fault based divorce, this allows for a more harmonious relationship to be encouraged between parties from an early stage in the divorce process, as there is no allocation of blame.
Currently within England and Wales, it is not possible to have a no fault divorce unless a couple can prove that they have been separated for 2 years with consent or for 5 years without consent. Given this high threshold, only 40% of divorces in England and Wales are based on no-fault. This percentage is incredibly low in comparison to Scotland, where the law is different and 93-94% of divorces are no-fault.
The remaining 60% of divorces in England and Wales are therefore based one of three fault based grounds; either adultery, unreasonable behaviour or desertion. The necessity to draft a petition on one of these grounds can unfortunately lead to unpleasant accusations being raised, which can inevitably create additional animosity at what is already a very difficult time for all involved.
It has been found that divorce conflict can affect children’s mental health, academic performance and their ability to interact with others. It is believed that changing the law in England and Wales to allow for no fault divorce to be made easier, would help to alleviate the level of conflict during a divorce and hopefully enable the impact on children to be diminished.
Ellisons family department are members of Resolution, an organisation ‘committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes’. Good Divorce Week is a chance for Resolution and its members to raise awareness of the potentially negative consequences of the current divorce system and to call on the government to urgently remove blame from the divorce process.
Until the law is changed, as members of Resolution, Ellisons aim to provide practical help to our clients, highlighting ways for separating parents to put their children’s needs first and to be non-confrontational when finding resolutions to family problems.
If you require advice surrounding issues such as marriage, divorce, cohabitation, separation and/or children please contact our Family Team on 01206 764477 or 01255 851000.