Leading law firm FBC Manby Bowdler today welcomed the planned overhaul of divorce laws to help couples split with less conflict.
The Government has said it will introduce new no-fault divorce laws as soon as possible to end the ‘blame game’ surrounding the breakdown of many marriages.
Kate Rowley, a solicitor with the Family Law team at FBC Manby Bowdler, said the firm had long campaigned for the changes, which will make ending a marriage quicker and less confrontational.
Currently, one spouse must allege adultery or unreasonable behaviour by the other or else wait two years to start divorce proceedings. Until divorce proceedings are begun, financial issues cannot be resolved with any finality so often people have no choice but to get started immediately.
Under the new laws being proposed by the Government the spouse will have only to say that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. The changes will also stop one partner refusing a divorce if the other one wants one, although defended divorce is very rare.
Kate said: “These new laws should make it easier for people to work together at the end of a marriage. The reality is that in most cases there is fault on both sides and starting a divorce by assigning blame is unhelpful. A ‘no-fault’ system will help people to look forward rather than backwards at what went wrong. It will be much better for parents who need to focus on working together to care for their children at a difficult time.
“We are delighted to see the Government finally taking action after lengthy campaigning by many family lawyers. In the meantime, within the existing system we will continue to do all we can to resolve disputes for our clients pragmatically and to avoid conflict as far as is possible.
Justice secretary David Gauke says the new law will be introduced as soon as possible, "when parliamentary time allows".
We wrote here about a high-profile case in which the Supreme Court rejected a woman's appeal for divorce after her husband refused to agree to the move – meaning the couple must stay married until next year.