The Justice Secretary’s apparent willingness to introduce legislation to provide for a ‘no-fault’ divorce option will transform how couples understand the process.
Allowing couples to part ways without needing to revisit the past and apportion blame will reframe the entire process, drawing their attention away from past conflict and their differences to the far more constructive task of preparing for life after divorce.
This change of emphasis will help people think at an earlier stage about what they want to do with their lives after divorce, making an adversarial process into one with much greater opportunity for collaboration.
We await to see whether no-fault divorce will be provided for in addition to the current fault-based, or whether fault-based divorce will be dropped entirely as an option.
Our view is that the divorce ‘blame game’ is unhelpful to everyone and fault-based divorce should be dispensed with in its entirety.
In summary, today’s news is welcome in helping to remove much of the acrimony and stress that couples often face on marital breakdown since they will no longer be forced to apportion blame for the end of their relationship or wait lengthy periods of time to divorce.
Removing fault from divorce will avoid the long term damage often caused to family relationships by examining their past relationship difficulties and will better enable parents to resolve matters in the interests of their children going forwards through dispute resolution processes such as mediation and collaborative law.
Graeme Fraser and Peter Martin, Partners, Family Law Team, OGR Stock Denton LLP.