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Blame game: no-fault divorce

Mark Heselton asks whether it’s time for no-fault divorce

6 June 2012

You are probably aware of recent discussions about how easy it should be to get a divorce and what, if anything, should be done to protect those spouses dead set against splitting up. Will any relaxation of requirements open the floodgates and encourage divorces at a time when marriage is widely perceived to be creaking as an institution?

Fault lines

The current legislation was drafted 40 years ago and sought to allow a way out for those living in intolerable conditions or to force a long ‘cooling-off’ period ?of separation.

The court will accept that a marriage has irretrievably broken down if a spouse can prove one of five facts. Three – adultery, unreasonable behaviour and desertion – are based on fault. Two – separation for two years with consent and five years without – involve no fault, merely a period of living apart.

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