Welcome for reform of divorce laws

A legal expert has welcomed the news that the Government is to update divorce law in order to help couples separate without the need to appoint blame.

Under the current system, ‘no fault’ divorce cannot take place until at least two years has passed – instead, one party must allege adultery or unreasonable behaviour by the other for proceedings to take place quickly. The divorce can take around six months.

Campaigners and even senior judges have long called for the law to be updated, and the news comes after the Government carried out a public consultation into the issue.

Lisa McLachlan, chartered legal executive in the Family & Divorce team at regional law firm Napthens, has welcomed the news that couples will soon have the option to simply state that their marriage has broken down ‘irretrievably.’

She said: “Any move away from blame can only assist in what can be a difficult process for both parties involved. This can be particularly important when, at the end of the divorce process, they still need to be able to parent their children together, sometimes for many years.

“At present it is often the case that the petitioner has to cite behaviour which ordinarily they themselves may prefer to leave unsaid, to get over the hurdles within the divorce process itself.

“A move away from blame and recrimination should help everyone in allowing meaningful conversation in relation to finances and children matters to take place early on in the process, without the sting of the allegations in the petition getting in the way.”

Currently a date has not been set for the introduction of the new rules, but it is thought it could happen soon.