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22 March 2018
Does there need to be fault in Divorce?

There was an interesting programme just after Christmas on ITV titled ‘Divorce Wars’. This was a discussion on the possibility of removing fault from the divorce process.  At the moment the law states that there is only one ground for divorce and this is the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage and to prove this you must rely on one of five facts to obtain a divorce.  
1.    Unreasonable behaviour
2.    Adultery
3.    2 years separation – both parties need to consent
4.    Desertion
5.    5 years separation – no need for consent by the other party   

All are used and some are harder to prove than others.  The main area the programme focused on was unreasonable behaviour.  When petitioning based on unreasonable behaviour one party must become the Petitioner and cite about 5 or 6 examples of the other parties behaviour that has meant it is unreasonable for them to live together.  

Many separating couples find this easy but it is much harder when a couple have effectively fallen out of love with one another.  One option would be to wait until they have been separated for over 2 years but if a couple wants to deal with the divorce and in turn financial matters following separation straight away one would have to state that the other party was the reason for separation.  
We always aim to deal with matters in a constructive and non-confrontational way and we can even ensure that petitioning for divorce on the ground of on unreasonable behaviour can be done in the most amicable way possible.  This can be done by drafting the unreasonable behaviour particulars and sending them over to the other side to ask if they agree or disagree and suggest they can alter certain wording if they wish.  The parties could even get together to discuss the particulars and reasons for divorce so they both consent to them. 

 When there are children and financial matters to be dealt with starting the separation process by blaming one another is not the best way to begin proceedings.  This is why the change has been suggested.  

There is a Bill which has been put before Parliament. The proposal is for there to be an introduction of a sixth reason or ‘fact’ on which a divorce can be granted. In theory this would help people who agree to divorce and believe there is no way of continuing to be married.   This does seem like a possible way forward and it will be interesting to see if the law is passed.  

 Divorce is the process of ending the marriage and at Elliot Mather we completely understand the pain and suffering a client would be facing so we aim to make it as easy as possible to instruct us and take the pressure off you.  

We also very much understand that there can often be one person who does feel wronged and there are often cases where there has been a huge amount of awful unreasonable behaviour which the party wants to cite and even with the proposed changes the party would still be able to petition for divorce on unreasonable behaviour.  

At Elliot Mather we have offices in Derby, Chesterfield, Mansfield and we can also arrange to meet with clients in our Nottingham and Matlock offices.  We offer excellent service to the client and a very thorough and client focused service.  Please call our offices to arrange an appointment.  We do offer an initial fixed fee interview at £95 plus VAT so you can find out where you stand.  

By Lucy Tissington (based at our Derby office)

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