Couples will no longer have to prove fault to get divorced after the government announced that it will introduce legislation to end what it called an 'unnecessary blame game'.

Current law requires spouses to give details of at least one of five 'facts': adultery, behaviour, desertion, two years' separation (if the other spouse consents to the divorce), or five years' separation (if the other spouse disagrees).

The new law will remove this requirement and instead a statement that the marriage has broken down irretrievably will be required.

It is also proposed that spouses will no longer be able to contest and prevent a divorce. The detail of how this will work is not yet clear.

The two-stage legal process of decree nisi and decree absolute will be retained. A minimum timeframe of six months will be introduced, from petition stage to final divorce, which might actually be a little slower than under the current procedure.

The new procedure will become law when parliament have time to deal with it, so it may not be introduced for some time yet.


This proposal deals only with the divorce which brings the marriage contract to an end, it does not affect the procedure for dealing with disputes relating to children or property.


For further advice or information please contact Anne Vincent in Leominster or John Shurvinton in Hereford.


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