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'No Fault Divorce' Bill Has Second Reading

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A ‘no fault’ divorce bill had its second reading in Parliament on the 4th December 2015. The bill was introduced on 13th October 2015 by Conservative MP Richard Bacon.

Under current law, “one can get divorced in just five months”, the MP said, so his proposal would require a longer waiting period of around a year but “without any requirement to throw mud at each other as is currently the case”.

In order to divorce in England and Wales, there is one ground for divorce: the marriage has ‘irretrievably broken down’. There are five facts to demonstrate this: unreasonable behaviour, adultery, desertion, separation for two years with the other spouse’s consent and separation for five years with no consent required.

The MP’s bill will add ‘divorce without blame’ as a sixth way to demonstrate the breakdown of a marriage.

If it is successful and made into law, divorces will be granted once “each party has separately made a declaration that the marriage or civil partnership has irretrievably broken down” without the need to explain how or set out a statement of case.

The introduction of no fault divorce is backed by family law organisation Resolution. Chair Jo Edwards. Ms Edwards said that the “current fault-based divorce system achieves nothing besides escalating conflict during divorce”. Ms Edwards has welcomed the second reading of the MP for South Norfolk’s bill and urged Parliament to support it as “a welcome step” towards achieving “a civilised divorce process”.

The no fault debate has been on-going with the Deputy President of the Supreme Court Baroness Hale having called for a no fault divorce last year. The Baroness claimed that it would be cheaper than the current system and reduce bitterness.

Here at Chapman Pieri we agree that where appropriate then this is a good way forward for divorcing couples as anything that helps reduce acrimony is always encouraged.