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Family Lawyers and Judges have been saying for years that a change in the divorce law is well overdue. Current legislation from 1973 states that at present, couples either have to blame the other on the basis of unreasonable behaviour, adultery or desertion or have to wait for two years if they want a no-fault divorce by agreement. Some spouses are left in a limbo where they haven’t been able to divorce for a number of years because the other spouse has not agreed to a divorce. This was highlighted by the Supreme Court Case of Owens and Owens last year.
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In reality, society has moved on since 1973 and the law badly needed an update. The current law creates unwanted tension and blame which is unnecessary when adults have decided that their marriage has broken down. It is important that parties in a divorce separate as amicably as possible, particularly where there are children involved and the adults will have to co-parent after their split. Following a public consultation, the Government have announced there will be a change in the law when parliamentary time allows. The announcement confirms that the need for evidence of adultery, desertion or behaviour will no longer be needed and this will be replaced by a general ground of irretrievable breakdown. There will also be an option for a joint application for a divorce and the current option to defend a divorce will go.
Holmes Family believe this announcement is long overdue as divorce law has often created unnecessary blame in what is already a difficult situation. This new law will mean blame need not be allocated and couples won’t have to wait two years to have a no-fault divorce. Ultimately, this can only help divorcing couples, especially when children are involved.