What has been dubbed the “No Fault” Divorce bill (Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill) has been overwhelmingly backed by MP’s in the most recent ballot (231 votes to 16), and now looks set to receive Royal Assent in the autumn.
Julian Hunt, Partner in the Family Team, lobbied our local MP’s to back this change and received a response from Peter Kyle, MP for Hove and Portslade confirming that he ‘fully supports the introduction of a no-fault divorce procedure within this Bill and I voted in favour of the Bill last week in Parliament.”
This will see the first major change to divorce legislation in over 50 years and will avoid a party having to provide evidence of the other party’s “guilt” when petitioning for divorce. It will also allow a couple who wish to divorce amicably, the opportunity to submit a joint petition. All that will be required is an assertion from a party or both parties that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.
Furthermore, the possibility of contesting a party’s decision to petition for divorce will be removed, other than where there is an allegation of fraud or coercion. This will no doubt be music to Mrs Tini Owens’ ears, having lost her 2018 Supreme Court battle to divorce her husband of 40 years because he had objected and insisted that they still had a “few years” to enjoy. Mrs Owens was left in the unenviable position of having to wait out a 5 year separation in order to proceed with a divorce without her husband’s consent.
Jennie Apsey, our new recruit into the Family Team hopes that “no Fault Divorce” will lead to a reduction in the acrimony, stress and cost that many couples experience when getting divorced, and a reduction in conflict between the parties must surely be beneficial, especially where children are involved. Once the “blame-game” element of divorce has been removed, separating couples will be able to put all their energy into coming to agreements in respect of their finances and care of any children.