Reducing family conflict – wherever possible

Posted by Rachel Giles, 24th September 2018
As members of Resolution, our Family team strive to reduce conflict as far as possible in all cases that are dealt with. This is often made challenging by the current law in respect of divorce.

In order to divorce at present, couples must either live apart for a substantial period, or allege fault on the part of their husband or wife. This is entirely unsatisfactory for couples who have simply drifted apart, for those who wish to minimise tension, both for their own benefit but also for the benefit of their children, and for those for whom living apart for a number of years is simply not possible without a financial agreement in place.

It is also unsatisfactory if your spouse does not want to be divorced. Very few people can fail to have noticed the recent case of Mrs Owens, who has not been permitted to divorce her husband, despite being reportedly unhappy in the marriage. The litigation that followed must have been emotional and stressful for all involved.

The good news in all of this is that we now have a government consultation to consider. Proposals put forward by Justice Secretary David Gauke look promising, and would involve a notification of divorce, instead of separation or alleging of fault. In short, the proposals seek to do the following:

  • Reduce family conflict through the divorce process;
  • Remove the need for separation or fault;
  • Remove the option to contest the divorce.

Reform is not finalised yet. There are questions upon which the government would like responses, for example, whether the current minimum timeframe between the two stages, Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute, should be increased, to allow couples time to consider the implications of divorce, and to consider the practical arrangements.

The consultation can be found here and remains open until 10 December 2018.

If you have any questions about the current process for divorce, or the consultation, the Family team would be happy to assist.

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