No Fault Divorce in England & Wales

No fault divorce

As amicable divorce specialists, we regularly get asked if it is possible to get a no-fault divorce.  The media have brought to attention that the government is considering to introduce no-fault divorce. This is not quite true as they will be considering the prospect of removing fault from divorce proceedings.

However, a couple can obtain a no-fault divorce now in England & Wales. But only if they have been separated for at least two years and both agree to divorce. A mutually agreed 2-year separation does not require any blame to be put on the other party.

The main issue a couple have with 2-year separation is determining separation date. Luckily, all the couple need to do is agree on a date between them.  This can even be approximate (within reason).

The next issue is how is living separately actually defined in law?

Understandably, a couple can consider themselves as separated if they live in different houses.  But it is possible to live in the same house and live separate lives.  This can be achieved by sleeping in separate bedrooms, preparing and eating meals separately.

Can a 2-year separation keep divorce amicable?

The alternative reasons to a 2-year separation are 5-year separation without agreement, adultery, desertion or unreasonable behaviour.

A divorce petition using the reason for divorce as adultery or unreasonable behaviour must include intimate details.  These details include the location and the date when the adultery took place. Or details of each of the unreasonable behaviour occurrences. Then to keep the divorce process on track, the respondent (or as they may feel accusee) must agree that the details are accurate. This can often cause problems, as a marriage breakdown is usually 2 sided, and blaming everything on one person seems very unfair.

Less information required

A two-year-separation requires less information. The only evidence needed is the date on which the couple separated. This is less likely to cause offence to the respondent.  This will mean that divorces using this ground can be achieved more amicably.

A 2-year separation can help the divorce process go through much more amicably as there no accusations in the very early stages of the process.  Not antagonising your partner will not only help the divorce to go smoothly.  It will help your relationship with your ex in the future.

However, Divorce Negotiator can work with both parties to achieve an amicable divorce.  We do this by suggesting reasons that the court will accept as unacceptable behaviour but also acceptable to the other party.  When both parties know the reasons, there will be less shock when the paperwork from the court comes through the letterbox.  So you don’t need to wait 2 years for a no-fault divorce if you are willing to be civil to your partner.

Why wait for a 2-year separation?

No Fault Divorce in England & Wales was last modified: March 25th, 2019 by John Fuller

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