The Ministry of Justice issued a consultation in September 2018 on its plans for a no-fault divorce and in April 2019, the government published its response confirming that they will proceed with the planned changes to the current law on divorce.
As part of the changes, the five grounds of divorce will be removed, and parties will only need notify the Court that their marriage has broken down irretrievably. The new legislation will allow couples to give joint notice of their intention to divorce and remove the ability for one party to contest a divorce. Whilst introducing these changes, the government propose to modernise the language used within the divorce process.
A no-fault divorce will inevitably reduce conflict by removing the element of blame that currently exists within some of the grounds. We mentioned in our previous blog post that couples who had amicably agreed to divorce were forced to use the ground of ‘unreasonable behaviour’. As only one party can petition for divorce, that party had to list the alleged behaviour which caused the breakdown of the marriage. Research carried out in 2015 found that some of the alleged behaviour was untrue to divorce.
It should be noted that the above changes will also apply to civil partnerships.
If you would like to discuss this further, please contact Lynn Gooch on 020 8502 3991 for more information.