In recent days, Justice Secretary David Gauke has opened a public consultation into the potential introduction of ‘no-fault divorce’ in England and Wales.
The hotly-anticipated news comes after months of campaigning from family law groups such as Resolution, which have long criticised existing divorce laws as outdated and in need of change.
Under the current rules, anyone pursuing a divorce who has not already been separated from their partner for a minimum of two years needs to prove that their partner is ‘at fault’, whether this be through adultery, unreasonable behaviour or desertion.
Critics argue that these rules, which are laid out under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, provoke unnecessary conflicts and exacerbate disputes between unhappy couples.
Due to this, groups have been calling for a ‘no-fault divorce’ law to be introduced, which would enable couples to legally split without having to worry about the concept of blame and its associated complications.
News of the consultation has so far been welcomed across the legal community.
Christina Blacklaws, President of the Law Society, said: “Making couples attribute fault in order to end their marriage can escalate the differences between them in an already charged situation. So we welcome news the Ministry of Justice is to consult on proposals to update divorce law.
“It’s time to bring this law into the 21st Century to reflect the society we live in and we look forwarding to working with Government to ensure the reforms are fit for purpose.”
Meanwhile, Nigel Shepherd, Chairman of Resolution, added that the move would help to make the divorce system “fit for the modern age.”
“For far too long, couples have been forced into needless acrimony and conflict in order to satisfy an outdated legal requirement,” he said.
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