Family law group urges politicians to commit to no-fault divorce

Ahead of next month’s general election, family law body Resolution has called for politicians to commit to no-fault divorce and modernise family justice in their manifestos.

In his letter to the major political parties, Nigel Shepherd, National Chair of Resolution, has urged politicians to make a commitment in the next Parliament to:

  1. Allow couples to divorce without blame
  2. Give cohabiting couples, who make up 10% of the population, some basic legal rights
  3. Ensure there is fair access to the family justice system
  4. Give people more financial clarity on divorce

Citing the recent Owens v Owens ruling in particular, he argues current legislation doesn’t allow couples to divorce amicably:

“People often have to cite unreasonable behaviour or adultery on the divorce petition. This leads to unnecessary conflict, makes an amicable separation less likely, and reduces the chances of reaching agreement on children and financial issues.

“It is simply wrong that in 2017 anyone can be forced to remain in a marriage that they no longer wish to be in.

“It’s time to end the blame game. A new Parliament is a perfect opportunity for politicians to finally act on no-fault divorce, regardless of the outcome on June 8th.”

No-fault divorce has been legislated before, Shepherd argues, in the Family Law Act 1996.

Scotland, Australia, several US states, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden all have divorce without blame.

Shepherd also cites public support for no-fault divorce is on the rise. A recent YouGov poll found 69% agreed that people should be allowed to divorce without blame.

You can read Resolution's letter sent to the main political parties here.

Sources: Resolution, Law Society Gazette

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