A survey of public opinion of divorce in England and Wales has demonstrated that the majority are in favour of reforming the current system.
Research carried out by family law firm Vardags and YouGov revealed that 76% of people believe that the element of blame currently required in order to obtain an immediate divorce should be removed. A further 52% believe that courts should encourage amicable separation.
John Oxley, barrister at Vardags said “The current laws force couples to begin their divorce in an acrimonious way, precipitating confrontation and making divorce have a worse impact than it needs to on children and families.”
And it’s not only the public that believes that a change to current divorce laws is necessary. Even President of the Supreme Court Baroness Hale supports no-fault divorce.
Currently, individuals in the UK are required to prove fault, which can be based on behaviour, adultery or desertion.
Oxley says: “The need to prove fault to obtain a divorce is rooted in mid-twentieth century morality. It does nothing to ‘protect’ marriage, but rather creates confusion and distress for those who have reached the difficult decision to end their relationship.”
Calls for no-fault divorce have intensified following the recent case of Tini Owens where a divorce petition was refused by the court for failing to demonstrate that the marriage had ‘irretrievably’ broken down. Ms Owens is due to contest the decision at the Supreme Court on 17 May 2018.