Make ‘no-fault’ the default in divorce

New research has revealed that the current divorce process in England and Wales increases conflict and suffering for separating couples and their children.

Finding Fault, written by Professor Liz Trinder and published by the Nuffield Foundation looked into the state of the current fault-based divorce system.

The report asserts that the divorce system is inherently unfair because of the law’s heavy reliance on using ‘fault’ as a basis of divorce.

Consequently, this encourages people to exaggerate claims of ‘unreasonable behaviour’ or adultery to get a quicker divorce, which cannot be investigated by the court or easily rebutted by the responding party.

Resolution, the national family justice organisation, welcomed the report, describing it as a “wake-up call for politicians.”

The organisation’s chairman Nigel Shepherd has been quoted as saying: “This authoritative, academic research should eliminate any doubt from government that the law needs to change.

“Fault-based divorces don’t reflect the reality of relationship breakdown for the majority of couples and do nothing to help them deal constructively with the consequences – indeed they often have the adverse effect of inciting additional conflict between separating partners.

“It’s time to make no-fault the default.”

Rob Parker, specialist family lawyer at Phillips, agrees that this area of law is ripe for reform. As he explains, ‘Currently if couples wish to divorce within two years of separating, they have to provide a reason based on one person being ‘at fault’, either due to their adultery or unreasonable behaviour.  This inevitably polarises the separating couple from the outset – at the very time when they need to work together constructively to resolve their financial and children arrangements.  Resolution, of which I am member, is campaigning hard to reform the law and remove the ‘sting’ out of the process.’

If you are considering divorcing or separating from your partner, whether you are married or not, please do not hesitate to contact Rob Parker by calling 01256 854604 or by emailing rob.parker@phillips-law.co.uk