Couples around the UK are finding that they have to exaggerate faults in their marriage in order to be granted a divorce, with 30 per cent bending the truth about how long they’ve been separated, unreasonable behaviour and adultery.
This is according to new research from Slater and Gordon, also revealing that over one in four of such couples say the process of divorce left them with bitter feelings towards their former partner, which dashed any hopes of ensuring that the breakup would be an amicable one.
Of those asked, 80 per cent of Brits said that they would have gone for a no-fault divorce if the law permitted this. At the moment, couples are only able to obtain a divorce if they cite reasons such as desertion, adultery or unreasonable behaviour, or if they’ve been separated for over two years with the consent of either party, or five years without.
No doubt you read in the news about the case of Tini Owens, who is looking to end her 40-year marriage to husband Hugh. Although she considered his behaviour to be unreasonable, the Supreme Court wasn’t convinced – but the case did prompt calls for the law to be overhauled.
Commenting on the survey results, family lawyer Joanne Green said: “Clearly, many couples would prefer an amicable, no fault split, but far from helping that happen the current process seems to inflame the situation and incites couples to enter into a blame game.
“It causes issues for the individuals involved and sadly, it also seems that it causes distress to the children stuck in the middle. It’s also important to point out that not being truthful in a court document is a serious issue and if people are found to have done so, they could be liable to serious consequences.”
Back in July, a new divorce law review bill was introduced in the House of Lords, receiving its first reading on July 18th and requiring the government to review current laws relating to divorce and civil partnership dissolution. Instead, a proposal for a new system of no-fault divorce is set to be considered.
Baroness Butler-Sloss introduced the bill, saying that current laws are not fit for purpose and in order for petitioners to secure a quick divorce they have to make “wounding” allegations of unreasonable behaviour. And even more importantly, such allegations can be “extremely upsetting” for any children involved.
She went on to say that the new bill asks the Lord Chancellor to review the current divorce law, with the bill’s schedule setting out suggestions for a no-fault divorce option.
If you do find yourself facing divorce, Surrey divorce solicitors Gumersalls will work with you to make sure that the best decisions are made for you and your family. Get in touch with us today if you’d like to find out more.