You may have heard the news that the government has announced proposals to massively overhaul the divorce process. The proposals, which are still at the consultation stage, will help to eradicate the blame element from the divorce process by removing the requirement for one spouse to prove that the divorce is the fault of the other.
Have you heard of Mrs Tini Owens, who wanted to divorce her husband of 40 years? Her case made the news because the highest court in England and Wales, the Supreme Court, ruled that she had not proved that it was unreasonable for her to continue to live as a wife to her husband.
Many campaigners agreed that this case highlighted well some of the problems in the current divorce process; namely, that the divorce process is all too often antagonistic.
So, what is the current situation? At the moment, divorcing couples must demonstrate that their marriage has irretrievably broken down by proving their partner is at fault through adultery, unreasonable behaviour, or desertion.
If they can’t prove one of these, they will have to wait two years if both consent to a divorce, or five years without consent. The process as it stands can make what is already an emotionally charged situation even more stressful, particularly where children are involved.
How will the proposed new plans make improvements? Well, if the new plans are made into law, they will streamline the process, as divorcing couples will not have to rely on one the current five reasons. This will go a long way towards removing the ‘blame game’ from divorce.
There has been some criticism of the proposals. Some argue that by making the divorce process more streamlined the sanctity of marriage will be reduced. Others argue that the government should just get on with reforming the divorce law; at the moment the proposals are just that – plans.
Whatever your own view, the proposals have the potential to create one of the biggest shake-ups in divorce law in the last 50 years.
If you are going through a divorce or thinking of starting a divorce, please call me – Imran Khodabocus on 01392 284 851 for appointments in Exeter or 01823 785070 for appointments in Taunton.
The Family Law Company can assess you for legal aid and in some emergency situations, grant you legal aid in our initial meeting. Even if you don’t qualify, your initial appointment is always free.