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“No More Mud Slinging” No Fault Divorces To Become Law

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

Currently, under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, it states that if a party wishes to divorce they must demonstrate to the Court that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.

To satisfy the Court, they must prove one of the following five facts:-

  1. Adultery – a spouse has committed adultery;
  2. Unreasonable behaviour – a spouse has behaved in such a way that a party cannot expect to continue to live with them;
  3. Desertion – a spouse has deserted a party for a continuous period of two years or more;
  4. Two Years Separation – with the consent of the other party;
  5. Five Years Separation – with no consent or fault of the other party.

However, it has recently been confirmed that no-fault divorces are to be introduced following a reform of the law.  This would mean removing the need for parties who wish to divorce to wait years or blame the other in order to divorce. The idea being that a party can divorce on irreconcilable differences or an irreparable breakdown of the marriage which is often the cause of many relationships breakdowns.

The need for change has recently been pressed following the case of Tina Owens who applied for a divorce based on a ‘loveless and unhappy marriage’.  The case was before the Supreme Court in 2018 who ruled that, as, in their opinion she had not proved any of the above facts she would need to wait until five years had elapsed before being able to divorce her husband. At that time Ms Owens had been living separate and apart from her husband since 2015.

By allowing no-fault divorces, it will mean the divorce process, which can be a relatively expensive and acrimonious time should be quicker and cheaper.  A divorce can be a very emotional and taxing time for any one and so if there is no need to assign blame that is of course one less burden.   This should also assist other matters such as resolving financial arrangements and child arrangements to be much easier and less stressful.

The Government are preparing for this change in the law and our Family Law Team at Wilson Browne are always available to assist and support their clients through the existing divorce process.

For advice contact our Family Team on 0800 088 6004

Helen York


Helen York


Helen is the Deputy Senior Partner at Wilson Browne and a member of our Family Law Team. She has acted for clients across Northamptonshire for over 25 years and has a long established reputation for acting for clients in the Wellingborough area and regularly sees…