“You made a horrible experience more bearable by taking all the problems and pressures and dealing with them so efficiently”

No Fault Divorce - An update by Andrew Dowie 12/02/2019

Further to my blog below, it is pleasing to note that the Justice Secretary, David Gauke, has committed the government to reforming divorce law through legislation in the next Parliamentary session, which starts in May.

Referring to the consultation launched last year, which proposed changes to the law governing the end of marriages, the Justice Secretary told The Times:

"[Responses] were overwhelmingly in support, which is why I remain as convinced as I have been for the need to reform this particular area.' He added: 'I need to go through the formal processes in government but my ambition will be to bring that legislation at the earliest opportunity, which will be in the next session of parliament."

Speaking in response to the remarks, Nigel Shepherd, former Chair of Resolution, said:

"From the Secretary of State's remarks today, it is clear that the responses to the consultation have demonstrated overwhelming support for this important reform, and we're pleased the government are so firmly behind it.

"Our members, and the families they work with, will be delighted that, after years of campaigning, we are now so close to ending the 'blame game' that many divorcing couples are currently forced to play.

"There is clearly much detail still to agree, and we'll be providing Ministers and officials with all the support we can to help this new legislation come forward, and be enacted, as soon as possible."

Whilst it remains unclear exactly how the reforms will work, it does seem certain that there will be a far more straight forward ‘no fault’ alternative to the current procedure whereby your only options are to wait until you have been separated for 2 years, if agreed with your spouse / civil partner to pursue Divorce proceedings, or 5 years without agreement.

Consequently, this should avoid the need for arguments in Court about who caused the breakdown of the relationship, allowing both parties to concentrate on more important issues that need resolving as a result of the separation. It is a step that is long overdue and should be welcomed by the legal profession and particularly those in need of assistance in this area of law.

Andrew Dowie is a Partner at Steel and Shamash who specialises in Family Law, and is a member of Resolution.