No Fault divorces: a new reality?

No Fault divorces: a new reality?

Following mounting criticism from campaigners, the UK could witness the arrival of ‘no-fault divorces’ in the coming months. The government is preparing a consultation to review the current divorce system, with a view to introduce a reform offer to estranged couples and give them the opportunity to end their marriage without the acrimony of fault-finding divorce proceedings. With such monumental change on the horizon, we discuss the impact of no-fault divorces and make predictions about what the change could mean for the legal world.

Unlike other legal matters, the issue of divorce is incredibly contentious. Straddling two very different worlds of civil and religious law, marriage and its dissolution spark strong reaction from all corners. A sacred institution, detractors of the proposed change have argued that a reduction to the burden of proof would diminish the efficacy of divorce proceedings and make it easier for couples to end their marriage.

What’s changing?

Under proposed changes, there would be two substantive changes to current law: firstly, the government proposes that the courts move away from a system that requires couples provide the court with reasons for the breakdown of the marriage removing the need to cite particular blame. In addition, the government proposes that instead of having to acquire consent from their spouse or courts, couples or one partner could give notice of their intent to divorce stating their belief that the marriage had broken down and set divorce proceedings in motion... This reform comes in light of the Tini Owens case, where Ms Owens divorce was blockaded by her husband. As a result, the government reasons that if one spouse has concluded that the marriage is over, then the legal process should respect that decision and should not place impediments in the way of a spouse who wants to bring the marriage to a legal end.

The landmark decision of the Supreme Court denied Tini Owens divorc

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About the author:
Catherine is one of the Future of Law's digital editors. She graduated from Durham University with a degree in English Literature and worked at a barristers chambers before joining Lexis Nexis.