Published: 9th December 2015
The second reading of the 'No Fault Divorce' Bill is set to take place in the House of Commons on 22nd January 2016.
The Private Members Bill, sponsored by Conservative MP Richard Bacon, was introduced to Parliament during the 'Ten Minute Rule' where an MP is allowed to make a case for a new bill to be introduced during a 10 minute speech. Mr Bacon was successful in his plight and the bill was given its first reading on 13th October 2015.
Current UK divorce law states that a married couple wishing to divorce can do so on the grounds that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, providing that the reasons meet one of 5 criteria which includes unreasonable behaviour, adultery, desertion for 2 years of more, the couple have been separated and have lived apart for 2 or 5 years continuously.
Mr Bacon hopes that his bill will allow couples to split more amicably and without fault, which will hopefully reduce some of the stress and heartache that comes with divorce. Mr Bacon has stressed that he does not want to make the divorce process 'easier' for separating couples, just to give them a system which allows couples to separate without blaming or 'throwing mud' at each other, which will ultimately make it better for any children involved in the breakup.
Family law organisation Resolution have been strong supporters and have publicly backed the new bill, with Resolution chair Jo Edwards saying, "We know that our current fault-based divorce system achieves nothing besides escalating conflict during divorce. It does not act as a deterrent, nor does it help couples to salvage their marriage. The latest data from the Office of National Statistics shows that 114,720 people divorced in England and Wales in 2013, despite fault-based petitions."
"We are pleased to see Richard Bacon's bill having a second reading. If MPs are serious about reducing family conflict and the trauma that can be caused by divorce, I would urge them to support the bill as a welcome step towards removing the requirement of fault from divorce."
"Removing the blame from divorce, as proposed in Richard Bacon's bill, would help couples who both wish to bring their relationship to a dignified conclusion and move on with their lives without the need for accusatory mud-slinging. This outdated system needs urgent revision – a civilised society deserves a civilised divorce process."
We wrote in a previous blog about how a quarter of fault-based divorces are deliberately misleading the courts, based on a Resolution study conducted by YouGov. The study highlighted that 52% of divorces were fault based and that 27% of divorcing couples who asserted blame admitted that the allegation of fault was false, as a way of making it easier to secure a divorce.
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