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The path towards no fault divorces

View profile for Alexandra Kelly
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Royal Assent has being gained for the Divorce Bill which is very welcomed news. Whilst a ‘no blame divorce’ will not be available until approximately October 2021, it is a step closer to allowing parties to divorce without having to blame the other.

Currently, to obtain a divorce, the ground is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. If parties wish to divorce prior to the anniversary of two years separation (and you also require consent of the other party) then they would need to proceed on the basis of adultery or behaviour. This results in one party having to be ‘blamed’.

Whilst there is often blame in relation to the breakdown of a marriage, there can be occasions where both parties are, to a degree, ‘to blame’ or cases where a party cannot think of examples of behaviour or simply does not want to because of the difficulties it could potentially create.

Whilst we always support and encourage our clients, either in making an application for divorce or being on the receiving end of it, to take a pragmatic view to avoid delay, it is often the case that it is uncomfortable for parties to have to cite behaviour.

The Divorce Bill will bring about change which will allow parties to simply seek a divorce on the basis of their marriage having irretrievably broken down and will avoid the need to blame.

This is likely to prevent unnecessary animosity between parties who are divorcing and make resolving their finances easier. Most importantly, as we often encounter, our clients are also parents and of course any animosity that can be avoided between parties/parents is of course of benefit to the parties’ children.

We all, at Family Law Group, very much welcome this step in the right direction and this is clearly a landmark and a change that family practitioners have long awaited.

Whilst there will be no immediate change in practice, we are in the meantime happy to assist our client’s in manoeuvring the current system to commence divorce proceedings and as explained above, a pragmatic approach is often required from both parties.

If you do require any further information please do not hesitate to contact our solicitors who will be happy to assist you, or email us at