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Pain of separating will ease with new ‘no conflict’ divorce

COUPLES considering divorce but fearing their relationship might be dragged through the courts will be hugely heartened by Government plans to introduce ‘no-fault’ divorces in the near future.

The move has been welcomed by Sweeney Miller Law who says handling divorce cases in future should be made that much easier for law firms, as well as the couples themselves.

Lindsey Christie, head of civil litigation at the company, said: “This is a positive move to modernise divorce proceedings.

Lindsey Christie
Lindsey Christie, Head of Litigation

“The result would be to reduce conflict between separating couples and therefore potential harm to children as well.”

Under the new legislation, currently going through consultation, spouses would also lose any right to contest a divorce application made by their partner.

Justice minister David Gauke said: “Marriage is a hugely important institution, but when a relationship ends it cannot be right that the law creates or increases conflict between divorcing couples.

“We think that the blame game that currently exists helps nobody; it creates unnecessary antagonism and anxiety at an already trying time for couples.

“In particular, where there are children involved it’s very important we do everything to ensure the future relationship between the divorcing couple is as harmonious as possible.”

Currently in England and Wales, the only way to obtain a divorce without a spouse’s agreement, unless fault can be proved, is to live apart for five years.

The proposed changes include:

* Making “the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage” the sole grounds for a divorce.

* Removing the need to live apart or provide evidence of a partner’s misconduct.

* A new court notification process that can be triggered by one or both parties.

* Removing the opportunity for the other spouse to contest the divorce application.

Although there is no timescale for the legislation, Mr Gauke has said he wants to have it on the statute book quickly and that is likely to happen with Labour also backing the introduction of no-fault divorces but urging a change of the law without the delay of a consultation.

Lindsey added: “The breakdown of a marriage is a difficult time for any family and the decision to divorce is often a very painful one – especially where children are involved – so anything that is a help, has to be welcomed.

“Should these changes be approved, it  will be a less adversarial system because under ‘no fault’, the dissolution of marriage does not require the wrongdoing of any party.

“It would shift the focus from blame and recrimination to making arrangements for the couple’s  futures and that of any children.”

  • If you are considering divorce proceedings, or know someone who is looking for advice on their options, feel free to contact Sweeney Miller Law’s expert team of specialists.

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