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Regular followers of Downs’ news will know that we have closely been following the law surrounding no-fault divorce. In an update published today the legislation will start to be introduced.
Up until now, couples wishing to divorce had to fall into one of the following categories: unreasonable behaviour, infidelity, desertion or if you and a spouse had lived apart for a continuous period of time.
However, these criteria did not cover circumstances where the relationship had simply irrevocably broken down. For these couples, divorce is not usually granted because they do not fit into circumstances outlined within the law – i.e. there has been no desertion or unreasonable behaviour.
There have been a number of cases in the press that have outlined how frustrating this can be. In the Owens V Owens case the allegations layed against Mr Owens were ruled by the Judge as “flimsy at best” and the case was thrown out of court – however, this was the only category that could have been applied to the Owens’ case, when actually, the relationship had just broken down.
The latest news regarding a review of the law came from Justice Secretary David Gauke. He has confirmed that he will introduce legislation enacting the reform in the next session of parliament. This will no doubt be welcome news for the thousands of couples who wait for years, or allocate blame, for the collapse of their relationship. Not only does this lead to prolonged heart ache for families, but it can also cause long term damage between relationships – especially in children.
Our Family Law team at Downs is very happy to hear of the proposed changes and we will continue to monitor any updates that come through.
In the meantime, if you have any questions relating to your own separation, contact us to see how we can help.