It’s essential the UK allows no-fault divorce, here’s why
In recent weeks, swathes of column inches have been dedicated to the divorce hearing of Tini and Hugh Owens. On the face of things, this is unusual: neither Tini nor her husband are celebrities and theirs is not a billion or ever multi-million-pound divorce. Instead, their case is unique simply because one party wants a divorce and the other does not; with the matter having progressed to the UK’s supreme court as a result.
As a result of this, debates concerning divorce law and changes that should or should not be made to it have once again come to the fore; specifically whether England and Wales should introduce no-fault divorce and the abolish the right of Respondents to contest divorces. At Quickie Divorce, we strongly believe it’s time these changes are made, here’s why:
No one takes divorce lightly
Having worked with individuals seeking divorces for more than a decade now, I can say that no one makes the decision to file for a divorce lightly. It’s, in the vast majority of instances, the most difficult decision the Petitioner has had to make and one that they will have considered and re-considered for months if not years.
In spite of this, opponents of these changes frequently argue that making the divorce process easier will result in a higher divorce rate. This, though, is simply not the case as, whilst you can make the process of obtaining a divorce easier, you simply cannot make divorce easy under any circumstances.
Who’s really at fault?
It’s decidedly rare for a marriage to have broken down exclusively because of the actions of one spouse. You may well argue that those that commit adultery could be deemed to have brought about the end of their marriages single-handedly, but isn’t it reasonable to conclude that their actions could stem – partly, at least – from the actions of their husband/wife?
Essentially, trying to apportion blame for the breakdown of a marriage is an extremely difficult task and it’s highly unlikely that anyone will fully understand what – let alone who – ultimately led to the marriage having irretrievably broken down.
Blame harms everyone involved
The need to blame one party for the breakdown of the marriage is, unsurprisingly, something that can lead to discord which is more than capable of causing resentment between couples where little or none previously existed. This, of course, can bring significant and adverse long-term ramifications.
When couples harbour animosity it is, for example, virtually impossible for them to arrive at an agreement on the division of their assets meaning that it’ll be likely that they both find themselves with legal bills that are significantly larger then they need to be. What’s more – and, in my opinion, most importantly – this can be truly devastating for any children of the marriage; children whose wellbeing will be reliant on their parents being able to maintain a civil relationship with one another following their divorce having been finalised.
Contesting a divorce is fruitless
Perhaps this statement seems cruel and I can understand why people might feel this way; after all, who wouldn’t feel sorry for someone left heartbroken by the end of a relationship? Whilst it’s perfectly natural to feel this way, though, such an individual will not benefit should they prevent their spouse from obtaining a divorce – quite the opposite, in fact.
By allowing people to prevent a divorce from being finalised when the other party is adamant that the marriage is over, they are prevented from beginning the grieving process and, in turn, the process of recovering, also.
All in all, everything I’ve learnt throughout my past ten years in the divorce-sphere has taught me that no-fault divorce should be introduced to England and Wales post-haste.
Jay Williams has worked with divorcing individuals for more than a decade with Quickie Divorce, one of the UK’s largest providers of online divorce solutions. He lives in Cardiff with his wife and two-year-old daughter Eirys.