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/ 30 Nov 2016

No Fault Divorce? It’s a no brainer.

This week is Resolution’s #GoodDivorceWeek.

Resolution is a national organisation of family lawyers who believe in a constructive, non-confrontational approach to family law matters. Some of our best family solicitors are Resolution accredited.

To many, a ‘good divorce’ sounds like an oxymoron. However, there is great deal more that could be done to make the process of divorcing far better for those whose marriages have unfortunately broken down.

Today, the 30 November, as many as 150 family lawyers will converge on Parliament in order to discuss a better way forward with MPs and Peers.

The first thing on every family lawyer’s professional wish list is No Fault divorce. To anyone practicing family law, ‘No Fault’ is a no-brainer. Nigel Shepherd, the National Chair of Resolution, said recently, “It is clear that current divorce law is not fit for today’s modern society”. We at Hanne & Co could not agree more. Currently, the law requires those who enter divorce proceedings to attribute blame to one party – by alledging ‘unreasonable behaviour’, ‘adultery’ or ‘desertion’- otherwise the petitioning party will have to wait until they have been separated for at least two years to legally end their marriage and even then the other party must consent. Failing all else they have to wait for a period of 5 years separation.

Unreasonable behaviour requires one party to catalogue their partner’s ‘failings’ in order to petition for divorce. The reasons cited are only one party’s view and whether true or not will usually cause matter to be inflamed unecessesarily. What could be more contrary to the spirit of family law? Further, to begin the process by insisting that one party points the finger while the other shoulders the blame for the relationship’s break down is an unnecessarily destructive way to begin the legal dissolution of a relationship.

Often, issues around a couple’s finances and children quickly follow the petition for divorce. These issues are often necessarily contentious. But the divorce itself need not be.

Of course, there are many ways to improve the process for those divorcing, and we at Hanne are committed to doing everything we can to make the process as painless as possible from the legal point of view. So today we wholeheartedly support Resolution’s push for Parliament to make this relatively small, but crucial change to the divorce process. The time for No Fault divorce is now.

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