Good Divorce

Paradigm Family Law is supporting Resolution’s campaign for a ‘Good Divorce’. This week (30 November 2016 to 2 December 2016) an awareness campaign has been launched to promote the idea of a ‘no fault’ divorce.

Blame Game

Presently, the only ground for a divorce is the ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage’, and must be proved by one of 5 facts. The five facts are:

  1. That the other party has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to live with the other party.
  2. That the other party has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with the other party.
  3. That the other party has deserted you for a period of more than two years.
  4. That you and the other party have been separated for more than two years and that the other party consents to a divorce.
  5. That you and the other party have been separated for more than five years.

By insisting that adultery or unreasonable behaviour are required to start divorce proceedings, or else wait 2 years, creates a blame culture that can so often affect the parties when dealing with other aspects such as the child arrangements or financial matters. Resolution want Parliament to review the blame culture inherent in divorce proceedings and discard the fault based approach.

Parliamentary Lobby Day 2016

Resolution’s approach centres on the fact that current divorce law does not support non-confrontational resolutions for separating couples. This leads to couples having to play a blame game which can escalate conflict. Resolution is particularly concerned about the impact conflict and confrontation between separating parents has on their children.

In a recent survey of Resolution members, over 90% agree that no fault divorce should be available to separating couples.

On 30 November 2016, 150 family lawyers are gathering in Parliament to call for the Government to allow for No Fault Divorce.

Lobby Day

On Wednesday 30 November Resolution will be holding a Lobby Day in Parliament, where over 150 members will be travelling to Westminster and meet with their MP. This year the campaign focuses on no fault divorce and improving rights for cohabiting couples. These are two of the key areas highlighted by Resolution in their manifesto which was launched last year. 

Hopefully by raising awareness in this way, Resolution’s Good Divorce campaign will strike a chord with the powers that be, and the public at large. We have seen this year that the power of the people to make a difference in political circles can make a big impact. Resolution will be hoping that they too can create a surge of opinion in favour of change, and we support them in that endeavour.

International Approach

Many of our international counterparts already embrace a no fault divorce culture. Here are some examples of jurisdictions where divorce is not always a blame game:

  • AUSTRALIA: In Australia there is no concept of matrimonial fault (see s 48 (1) FLA) also in CANADA, where “adultery” is still included in the Divorce Act , but rarely invoked.
  • BELGIUM: In Belgium there are only two kinds of divorce: irretrievable breakdown after separation Art 229 BCC or mutual consent Art 1287 to 1304 BJC, but no fault divorce is established.
  • BERMUDA: A divorce petition can be made, after a three-year period, when the Petitioner has suffered “exceptional hardship”.
  • GERMANY: In Germany, the parties must be separated for one year. Only in “hardship” cases, can they obtain a divorce earlier. These hardship cases are included in § 1565 BGB (“Scheitern der Ehe”) and are frequently used where verbal abuse, domestic violent or alcohol addiction is part of the divorce petition.
  • FRANCE: In 2015, about 80,000 no-fault divorces were pronounced, or the equivalent of 79% of all divorces without blame being apportioned to either party. 11% of couples divorced after two years without passing blame either, and just 10% of couples divorced for fault-based reasons such as adultery or unreasonable behaviour.

Contact Us

For more details on this or any other family law matter, please do not hesitate to contact James or Frank. Paradigm Family Law offers a free initial consultation and our fixed fee solutions cover financial proceedings from start to finish. You can call us on 0845 6020422 or email us to [email protected]. You can also follow us on twitter and LinkedIn and Facebook for the latest news and views on family law.