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No more blame game: the end of ‘unreasonable behaviour’ divorces

No-fault divorce will help reduce conflict and speed up family proceedings, says David Kirwan

16 April 2019

After a long and arduous battle by campaigners, it looks as though no-fault divorces are finally going to be adopted by the English legal system. 

The move is long overdue. With the current grounds for divorce dating back to the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, divorce laws are woefully out of date when it comes to meeting 21st century demand.

Indeed, many people were horrified when they realised just how unfit for purpose these laws were during Owens v Owens, which forced wife Tini Owens to remain married to her husband until 2020.

There is no question that having to shoehorn the reasons for the breakdown of the marriage into one of just five available choices – adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion for two years, separation for two years when both parties consent to the divorce and finally separation for five years – is an unnecessary constraint.

When the periods of separation are not available, and if there is no suggestion of infidelity...

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