DATE PUBLISHED: 09 Apr 2019 LAST UPDATED: 15 Mar 2021

Time’s up for the blame game in divorce

Today marks the day that many couples have been waiting for. It has been confirmed today that the divorce laws in England and Wales are to be reformed so that it is no longer necessary to blame your spouse to obtain a divorce.

Currently, couples cannot divorce based on irreconcilable differences in England and Wales. It is necessary to either accuse your spouse of having an affair or to allege that their behaviour has been unreasonable. Otherwise couples are forced to wait a period of separation (a minimum of 2 years) to avoid having to attribute blame to the other in order to obtain their divorce. The current law is far from satisfactory and often does not set the right tone for couples going through a divorce. It will be often asked by married couples whether it is absolutely necessary to blame the other when they have not been separated for at least 2
years. This can often come as quite a shock, particularly when the couples wish for their divorce and separation to be as amicable as possible.

The reform will remove the blame element and will hopefully allow couples to separate and divorce on much more amicable and neutral terms. They can for example ask jointly for a divorce. Further, the reform will also make it much harder for one spouse to refuse the divorce in the event that the other spouse wishes to start the process.

This is a landmark reform for divorce law in England and Wales. It is long overdue and paves the way for many parents to have a better working relationship in raising their children.

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