Overhaul of divorce laws is what the legal profession has wanted for years

This is our first column and we would like to say hello to the readers from all of us at Derbyshire Family Law, writes Jonathan Corbishley.

Monday, 8th October 2018, 6:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th October 2018, 7:30 am
Photo by Pixabay.

We are honoured that we will have this column to keep you informed on legal matters, and we promise that we will do our utmost to ensure the column is relevant, educational and entertaining.

Today, we will discuss what could potentially be the biggest change to the rules around divorce in living memory.

Divorce laws in England and Wales look set to be overhauled under government plans to allow couples to officially separate quicker and in a less acrimonious manner, with a consultation now underway to introduce ‘no-fault’ divorces.

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It is something the legal profession has wanted for many years, and a relatively recent case where a woman estranged from her husband lost a Supreme Court appeal to be granted a divorce, seems to have been the catalyst for this. Tini Owens, who lives in Worcestershire, wanted a divorce from her husband Hugh, but the Supreme Court rejected the appeal, meaning that she remains married until 2020.

Mrs Owens will only be allowed to legally divorce when the couple have been separated for five years, which will mean they have to wait two more years.

Until now, the only way to get a quicker divorce is by one or both parties having to cite unreasonable behaviour. At such a fragile and emotional time, apportioning blame has been so inappropriate and has in many cases meant acrimony.

The decision to review the laws around reasons for divorce is hugely promising, particularly to those relationships that fail just because couples grow apart. It is a fact of life, and with many couples having to stay cordial for the sake of children, as much as possible has to be done to alleviate acrimonious divorces.

The law may be slow to change, but it has to adapt to the people it serves. This looks like being one law well-overdue for change.

From a lawyer perspective, firms will do their utmost to facilitate this change and encourage the legal system to adapt its’ laws to the current times and pressures that couples face.