The time has come for no-fault divorce


The Times has thrown its weight behind calls for the reform of our current fault-based divorce laws so that they are replaced by modern no-fault divorce.

Their support for this is to be welcomed, although I don’t agree with some of their position; for example, The Times argues that it would be sensible to adopt a system similar to Scotland where a couple can divorce after 1 year where both spouses consent or after 2 years where the other spouse does not agree. I don’t see any need for any lengthy wait where one party does not agree.

It finally it feels like we are starting to push on an open door about this. There will still be opposition from some quarters; I have already seen an article in The Telegraph claiming that no-fault divorce will weaken marriage. The bulk of the article is hidden by the Telegraph’s paywall, so I have not had a chance to read much than the headline, but it seems to miss the point spectacularly, which I will repeat again:

  • It is already very easy to get divorced; you just have to make nasty allegations about your spouse.
  • Removing the need to make nasty allegations will not weaken marriage. How does requiring people it be unpleasant to each other somehow strengthen marriage?
  • Many other countries have introduced no-fault divorce. There is no evidence to suggest that divorce rates will rise as a result of no-fault divorce, save for a brief spike immediately after the law changes due to people waiting for the law to change before they divorce.
  • Marriages will continue to break down at the same rate as before.
  • No-fault divorce will remove a source of extra hostility in the divorce and will allow couples instead to face on resolving disputes about children or finances without the distraction of arguing about who is to blame.

Since I started blogging about family law over six years ago, I have probably written more about the need for divorce reform than about any other subject. My earlier blogs can be found here:

Faulty divorce

The Blame Game

The politics of divorce

Why the lawyers are right and the politicians are wrong about divorce

Unreasonable behaviour or just behaviour?

How can divorce be good?

It’s time to end the blame game

Why do we need a judge to divorce?

A conspiracy to divorce

Richard Bacon MP’s no-fault divorce bill

Infidelity and adultery are not the same

Getting a divorce is not like getting a TV licence

No more judges in divorce

A letter to the Prime Minister

It’s time to stop playing the blame game

When will a no-fault divorce be possible?

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19 November 2017


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