In an article published in our August newsletter, I referred to the recent decision of Owens v Owens and how this case highlighted the need for matrimonial and divorce reform.
I also referred to the difficulties in starting a process where one party has to divorce the other, often having to use the fact of “unreasonable behaviour” to support their divorce petition. This starting point can add to, or help create, unwanted tensions between the parties at a time when their lives may be dramatically changing. Such tensions may become even more compounded where there are children involved.
For many years, most Solicitors have advocated that parties should be able to start the divorce process on a “no blame” basis. It appears that the Government are now listening and that this may therefore become a reality. We are not sure when because legislation has not at this stage been passed, but there is now a consultation paper.
If reform is introduced, it is hoped that this will enable separating couples to find more amicable and civilised solutions because the starting point for the divorce is not so focused on blame. Time will tell, but many Solicitors and associated professionals know all too well the negative impacts that this can have on many of their clients, their children and their families.