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30 November 2016

Family team leads the way in campaign for fault free divorce

On Wednesday 30 November 2016, Emma Alfieri from our family team will be heading to Parliament together with 150 other family lawyers from all over the UK, to campaign for fault free divorce.

The campaign is being run by Resolution which is a group of 6,500 family lawyers and other professionals in England and Wales, who believe in a constructive, non-confrontational approach to family law matters.  This is in conjunction with ‘Good Divorce Week’ which runs from 28 November to 2 December 2016.

The group are heading to Parliament with their local MPs to highlight ways in which the negative impact on separating couples – and their children – can be minimised.  Richard Bacon, local MP for South Norfolk is also a supporter of fault free divorce and will also be involved in the day.

Emma said “Current divorce law does not support non-confrontational resolutions for separating couples.  This leads to couples having to play a blame game which can escalate conflict.  We’re particularly concerned about the impact conflict and confrontation between separating parents has on their children.”

In a recent survey of Resolution members, over 90% agree that no fault divorce should be available to separating couples and this is the reason why 150 family lawyers are gathering in Parliament call for the Government to allow for No Fault Divorce.

Emma further explained “At present, in order to divorce, unless couples have been living apart for two years, one of them needs to apportion some form of blame – adultery or unreasonable behaviour.  This often creates conflict and makes reaching a mutually acceptable agreement much more difficult.

Removing blame from divorce will not make it more likely that people will separate.  It will simply make it easier for people to manage their separation with as little conflict and stress as possible and reduce the likelihood that they will end up in court.

According to Resolution figures, in 2012, there were over 72,000 divorces where adultery or unreasonable behaviour was cited.  Resolution believes that individuals should not have to use blame to bring their relationship to a dignified conclusion and move on with their lives.”

Resolution proposes a new divorce procedure, where one or both partners can give notice that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.  Divorce without blame will increase the chances of success for non-court dispute resolution processes as it immediately puts both partners on a level footing.  This will reduce the burden on the family court and help the Government to meet their aim for more people to resolve their problems outside of the courts.

Divorce without blame was provided for in the Family Law Act 1996 but never enacted.

Many other countries around the world – including Australia, the United States, and Spain – allow for divorce without blame.

Follow the campaign on Twitter @resfamilylaw or look for the hashtag #abetterway

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