No-fault divorce will enable parties to start their divorce proceedings in a more conciliatory way which should impact positively on how the financial and children aspects of divorce proceedings are litigated.
Currently where a divorce is to be sought on the ground of ‘unreasonable behaviour’ the petitioner is required to detail, in the petition itself, specific examples of the unreasonable behaviour alleged. Likewise, where desertion or adultery is claimed, evidence is will be required, thereby placing the blame for the breakdown of the marriage firmly on the shoulders of one party. Understandably, this increases hostilities between the parties impacting on their ability to move forward amicably in respect of other matters including the arrangements for any children and how their finances should be divided.
The move to ‘no-fault divorce’ will change the outlook of divorce law by removing the need to place the blame on one or other party. It is suggested that instead of providing facts and evidence of the breakdown, the petitioner would instead provide a statement to confirm that the marriage had irretrievably broken down. Then both parties could make a joint application to divorce thus removing the suggestion that one or other party was to blame.
It is expected that following a three-month consultation period, this highly anticipated new legislation will follow.