Legislation is set to be introduced in England and Wales to allow couples to apply for a 'no fault divorce'.
In a bid to end the 'blame game' in matrimonial breakdowns, legislation will introduce a new minimum time frame of six months from the initial petition stage to the final Decree Absolute divorce stage, to allow couples to reflect upon their decision.
Currently there are five grounds for divorce that apply in England and Wales. Three involve attributing blame where divorce proceedings can start straight away and the process is usually completed within 3-6 months:
- Unreasonable behaviour
The other two grounds for divorce which do not involve blame are:
- Separation for 2 years with consent;
- Separation for 5 years if one of those parties does not agree to the divorce.
The new rules will also remove the ability to contest a divorce, a practise which is currently misused by abusive partners exerting control or coercive behaviour.
Writing in The Telegraph, David Gauke, the Justice Secretary said that under the current 50-year-old divorce law there is a current requirement to find a guilty party which leads to children being caught in the middle of a “fractious and upsetting process”.
Hostility and conflict between partners may leave their mark on children and can damage their life chances.