Divorce laws in England and Wales are set to be overhauled under government plans seeking to allow couples to split up more quickly and with less acrimony.
In September this year it was announced that the government will begin a consultation on introducing ‘no-fault’ divorce, something campaigners believe could be a landmark moment for divorce law.
Under the current law in England and Wales, unless people can prove their marriage has broken down due to adultery, unreasonable behaviour or desertion, the only way to obtain a divorce without the other person’s consent is to live apart for five years. The government’s proposals could see the concept of fault, or blame, removed from the process.
Pressure has been building for decades for a system of no-fault divorce. The reason? Many believe that when divorcing couples are going through the stress and upset of a separation and trying to make living arrangements for their children, applying blame to one party can only make worse an already stressful process.
The government is looking at ending the right of spouses to contest a divorce, and will also consult on how long the parties need to wait before becoming entitled to one, suggesting a minimum of six months.
Essentially, the government is proposing a notification system where, after a certain period, if one party still believes the marriage has broken down irretrievably, they become entitled to a divorce.
Whilst some fear such a system will undermine marriage, many believe it could remove a layer of stress and anxiety from one of life’s most traumatic experiences.
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