Posted in Dispute Resolution
In England and Wales, in order to apply for a divorce, a person has to establish that the marriage has broken down due to one of five factors. Three of these factors require a period of separation. The other two are adultery or unreasonable behaviour. This ‘fault based’ approach is seen by some as archaic. Resolution, an association of family lawyers, believe that change is needed particularly following the current case of Mrs Tini Owens.
At the Resolution annual conference in April 2018 in Bristol, the association highlighted that the change was necessary in reducing acrimony when couples/families separate. Known for their conciliatory and non-confrontational approach, the change would be similar to that which currently exists in US and Australia.
Their campaign comes at a time when Mrs Owens has appealed a decision made by the Court of Appeal which ruled that she was unable to use the fact of unreasonable behaviour against her husband, Mr Hugh Owens. The Court found that the examples cited were not thought of as unreasonable and what one would normally expect within a marriage. The Court also highlight that it is not up to the judiciary but Parliament to change the law.
Mrs Owens’ appeal will be heard later this month at the Supreme Court. Resolution has indicated that they will ‘intervene’ in the case as support to Mrs Owens and the fact that the law needs to change.
A Private Members Bill introduced in 2015 seeking no fault divorce did not progress and there does not appear to be any plans at this stage to change the current situation.
We, at Pindoria, understand that the law perhaps does require a change. We advocate a need to progress matters without acrimony which can only delay matters and increases expense for the couple and their families. Relationship breakdown is difficult enough without having to think of reasons to blame the other.
Should you wish to arrange a free 30 minute, confidential and no obligation consultation, please contact a member of our Family team.