Does blame really matter? The case for no fault divorce

With 42 per cent of first marriages in the UK ending in divorce, the possibility of separation is a daunting but realistic prospect for many.

Under current rules, if you want to get divorced but have been separated for less than two years, then one spouse must bear the responsibility of blame for the break-up on the grounds of either adultery or unreasonable behaviour.

In 2012 there were over 72,000 divorces granted based on these two grounds, but for many couples, the relationship comes to a dignified close and there may not be a distinct reason for the breakdown of the marriage.

The argument for no fault divorce

The concept of blame only creates a trail of destruction in divorce, preventing couples from parting ways amicably, so many people feel it’s not always necessary for one person to hold responsibility, and a no fault divorce could instead help prevent any hostility.

The current approach often creates further difficulties between spouses which in turn makes reaching agreements in relation to financial issues and children all the more difficult.

Removing the blame culture from divorce would help ease the transition from married life to living separately and would undoubtedly reduce the stress both spouses feel during divorce proceedings.

A step change in the blame culture

Divorce without blame was envisaged within the Family Law Act 1996 but was never enacted, and the Government’s own family mediation taskforce recently recommended that divorce without blame should be introduced.

A new procedure has also been proposed by Resolution, whereby one or both spouses give notice that the marriage has broken down irretrievably to prompt divorce proceedings, and if after six months both parties still feel it’s the right decision, then the divorce is finalised.

Louise Daniel is a member of Resolution, meaning she is trained to resolve divorce matters in an amicable and productive manner. For more information on divorce or for advice on any family law matter, contact Louise on or 01706 213 356