If you are looking to bring your marriage to an end under English law, then you can divorce under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. Over 40 years later we are still using the same law.
In summary, there is one ground for divorce which is ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage.’ This ground has to be supported by one of five facts :-
A) Adultery
B) Unreasonable behaviour
C) Desertion
D) Two years separation
E) Five years separation
The two ‘fault’ based facts require evidence of either adultery (still an act only involving a woman and a man) or unreasonable behaviour. These facts are available to a spouse immediately when separating, and providing the marriage has existed for a year, can be based on actions in that first year of marriage. Unreasonable behaviour is the most commonly used fact as it is subjective to the accuser and can range from minor to major behaviour.
Many clients do not wish to allege fault or blame against the other party and seek to divorce on the basis of them drifting apart or having irreconcilable differences (a phraseology from the US).. Under the current law, these clients are left in quite an unsatisfactory position requiring them to wait until they have been separated at least two years. Many clients seek a quick resolution to the breakdown of their marriage which is not support by our divorce law.
Divorce law is crying out for reform. The blame game does not help spouses move forward. Where the couple have dependent children, there is a need for prompt resolution of matters and the divorce process is centre to this.
At King Street Solicitors LLP we will provide you with tailored advice to suit your needs and circumstances. If a fault based divorce is the most appropriate way forward, we can support you in ensuring that the divorce is handled in a sensitive manner and with a view to minimising conflict.