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No-Fault Divorce - How we got here

View profile for Karen Andrews
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No-Fault Divorce - How we got here

No-Fault Divorce is coming! From 6th April, a couple will be able to divorce (or dissolve their civil partnership) without having to blame each other for the breakdown of the relationship. Most say that this change is long overdue, how did we get to this point?

As far back as 1857 the law was changed to allow ‘ordinary’ men and women to divorce (before that time the process was mainly open to men and had to be granted by an Act of Parliament).  It was, however, considered quite scandalous and remained very complicated, fault-based, and expensive. As a consequence, divorce remained confined to the very wealthy.

The First World War led to many social reforms and in 1923 women were granted more powers to divorce, albeit still in very limited fault-based circumstances.

Over the following decades further adaptions were made, but it was not until 1969 that the concept of a ‘No Fault’ divorce was first introduced, only where parties had been living apart for at least two years.  This meant that the majority of divorce petitions still had to rely on blame to get through.

We have been moving towards a more conciliatory approach for some time but it has taken over 50 years, and much campaigning, to reach the stage where fault is no longer relevant. The need for a no fault system was recognised and drafted into the Family Law Act 1996 Part II but the provision was never implemented – there was simply too much opposition at the time. By 2015 there was an impetus for change and now, 7 years later, we are finally there!

If you wish to know more about No-Fault Divorce, you can contact Karen on 023 8021 3781 or at k.adnrews@duttongregory.co.uk