No-fault divorce coming soon, ministers pledge

Ministry of justice consultation on reform of divorce laws expected to lead to introduction of no-fault divorce.

No-fault divorce coming ’as quickly as possible‘

The Ministry of justice has published a consultation paper – Reform of the legal requirements for divorce – in response to growing calls for the introduction of no-fault divorce in the UK.

Current divorce law relies on either establishing fault (adultery, unreasonable behaviour or desertion) or on a period of separation of either two years (if the divorce is not contested) or five years (if contested).

While, in practice, a divorce petition is rarely contested, the recent high-profile case of Owens v Owens (in which the Supreme Court refused Mrs Owens’ divorce petition, despite what seemed to be compelling justification) has brought divorce laws back into the spotlight.

The justice secretary, David Gauke, has said that current divorce laws are “out of touch with modern life” and there  now appears to be widespread support for reform of what is seen to be an archaic divorce system in which couples are pitted against each other unnecessarily.

The Ministry of Justice consultation closes on 10 December 2018. You can get involved via the online survey at the consultation website.

For more information:

No-fault divorces will be introduced as quickly as possible, ministers pledge, The Independent, 15 September 2018.

The House of Commons Library briefing paper on no-fault divorce.