The current divorce law is set out in the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. For a couple to divorce one party must show that their marriage has ‘irretrievably broken down’ and that one of five grounds are satisfied. The five grounds are:-
- Unreasonable behaviour,
- Desertion for a continuous period of at least two years preceding the divorce application,
- Separation and living apart for a continuous period of at least two years preceding the divorce application and both parties consent to the divorce,
- Separation and living apart for a continuous period of at least five years preceding the divorce application.
The current Justice Secretary David Gauke accepts that the current divorce law is “out of touch with modern life” and the current law often increases conflict and tensions between divorcing couples. Under the current law the only way to obtain a divorce without your husband/wife’s agreement, unless fault can be proved, is to live apart for five years. Calls for a change to the current law have increased following the recent Supreme Court ruling in Owens v Owens. The Justice Secretary has begun a consultation to introduce no fault divorce into the UK’s legal system.
Divorcing couples should be able to separate in a way meaning that they can continue a harmonious relationship, particularly if there are children involved.
Here at Emery Johnson Astills we have specialist solicitors who advise people throughout divorce proceedings as it is often the case that parties cannot agree on allegations of behaviour. Surely this demonstrates that it is time for the Government to introduce no-fault divorce? This would mean that when one party petitions for divorce they do not have to prove any fault on behalf of their husband/wife.
Emery Johnson Astills are experts in family law and if you need advice in relation to divorce please do not hesitate to contact our specialist solicitors who are here to support you and advise you through this emotional time.