Government To Debate 'No Fault Divorces'

Legal expert backs calls for the modernisation of family law


Kate Rawlings, Press Officer | 0114 274 4238

Specialist family lawyers say Government plans to introduce ‘no fault divorces’ and modernise family law are “long overdue”.

The House of Commons is due to debate Conservative MP Richard Bacon’s private member’s bill, which seeks to introduce an extra ground for legal separation to the 1973 Matrimonial Causes Act, for the second time on Friday (22nd January 2016).

MPs will debate the proposed reforms to the law, which would mean divorces where neither party has to admit wrongdoing would become available.

Currently, couples wanting to divorce have to provide the courts with evidence of adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, two years separation and consent or five years separation without consent.

With almost 100,000 children caught up in divorces each year, specialist family lawyers at Irwin Mitchell say no fault divorce could be a better option to minimise the disruption for any children involved as it allows for a more amicable separation.

The South Norfolk MP’s bill also states that the courts should be able to grant divorces if they are satisfied there is “an individual statement from each party that the marriage has broken down irretrievably, signed freely and independently”.

MPs passed the first reading of Mr Bacon's No Fault Divorce Bill last October, after the second reading on Friday it will need to go through a committee debate and through the House of Lords before it is passed.

Peter Morris, a Partner and specialist family and divorce lawyer at Irwin Mitchell said the law as it current stands fails to recognise that many couples split amicably, and the system often results in one party having to wrongly admit fault in court.