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Posted by familylaw on 13th November 2019
Can I start divorce proceedings on a “no fault divorce”?

Following the Judgment in the case of Owens and pressure from organisations and the media a Consultation paper on this matter was released in September 2018. In April 2019 there was a response to the consultation with a Bill eventually being introduced on 17 June 2019.

The issue reached the committee stage in July 2019. Unfortunately as a result of ongoing disharmony and changes within Parliament the matter was lost in the wash up after prorogation. The next stage was the report stage before the House of Commons although the date was to be confirmed. Regrettably as the matter was not passed during the wash up the Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress.

Consequently at this moment we are still no further forward in respect of “no fault divorce”. The current grounds for divorce therefore remains as per S1(1) Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 in that a petition for divorce may be presented to the court by either party to a marriage on the grounds that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. The petitioner will then have to rely on one of the five facts set out in s1(2) to satisfy the court that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

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