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What happens if… I have no “legal right” to get divorced?

Close followers of Downs’ blogs will know that we have been keeping an eye on the law surrounding divorce, particularly where no member of the party is at fault.

As the law currently stands, couples wishing to divorce must fall into one of the following categories in order to be granted a divorce:

  1. Adultery
  2. Unreasonable behaviour
  3. Desertion
  4. You have lived apart for more than two years and both agree to the divorce
  5. You have lived apart for at least five years, even if your husband or wife disagrees

However, none of the above take into consideration what happens if a relationship breaks down irrevocably. It’s probably more common that you’d think and a situation that is perhaps most prolifically highlighted by the recent Owens V Owens case.

There is some good news though. A consultation was launched last autumn to get the law changed and so far, the responses have been good – in fact it appears to be widely supported by the Ministry of Justice. If the law is granted, it would provide a significant step forward for something which has largely been unaltered for 50 years.

But, we could be in for a long wait. No-fault divorce was actually introduced by the Family Law Act in 1996 but it was repealed. However, since then, support has not only come from the MoJ, but also several family lawyers and relationship charities.

Being able to supply no fault divorce will be truly revolutionary and we will continue to watch and support where we can.

In the meantime, if you have any questions relating to your own divorce, contact Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.

Posted on 21/03/2019 by Floris Shoebridge

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