Taking the edge off divorce

Husband: “She belittles me and makes me feel insignificant”.

Wife: “He fails to provide emotional support”.

Husband: “She drinks to excess”.

Wife: “He is too busy with work and does not help around the house”.

As family lawyers, we have been privy to this blame game one too many times. The current legislation provides that the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage must be supported by one of the five facts – at present, if separation or adultery is not applicable then the party petitioning for divorce will have no other recourse than to rely on the other spouse’s unreasonable behaviour thereby attributing blame in order to satisfy the criteria for divorce. The purpose of this blog is to focus on clients contemplating divorce now based on their spouse’s unreasonable behaviour and therefore a divorce based on the other facts are outside the scope of this article.

Some people think that the current legislation makes the divorce process more bitter and fans the flames of conflict and has therefore brought about the need for reform where the aim is to move the emphasis from blame – hence a no-fault divorce! Subject to other parliamentary business, the new legislation may come in to force this year, 2020!

The advantages of a no-fault divorce include:-

  • Reduces acrimony and conflict between the parties, particularly in cases where children are involved.
  • Divorce proceedings can be concluded within a timely manner without the need to defend or object to the unreasonable behaviour allegations.

On the other hand, some say that there are disadvantages to no-fault divorce in that:-

  • The opportunity to inform a judge of the behaviours, circumstances and facts that led to the breakdown of the marriage is an important part of the process for many people, offering the chance for psychological processing and an opportunity to be heard and validated.
  • It can have serious financial ramifications for the financially dependent spouse.
  • It can undermine the institution of marriage itself by making it easier to exit it.

If you are contemplating divorce, you should very carefully consider whether this is something you wish to deal with under the current legislation or whether in fact you should wait until the law has been reformed although the time frame within which this may happen is unknown and for that, you should seek specialist family law advice so that a family law solicitor can comprehensively advise you as to the course of action you should take.

If your marriage is on the verge of breaking down and you need to consider your options, our specialist family lawyers at Clarke & Son who have a wealth of experience are here to help. For more information please contact Clarke & Son on 01256 320555.

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