Is it time to end the blame game?

If you have ever spoken to friend or family member that is either going through a divorce or you are divorced yourself, you are probably aware that there are 5 grounds on which a divorce can be granted: simply living separately for a minimum of 2 years is the first one. Then the other 4 reasons involve ‘blame’ ie that one party is to blame for the breakdown of the marriage.

As a result, what could have potentially been an amicable split, can all too easily turn into the ‘blame game’ with children often caught in the crossfire.

Currently the most common ground for divorce is ‘Unreasonable behaviour’. This involves one party alleging and proving that the other has behaved unreasonably. The type and the extent of the allegations vary in every case. This approach often leads to the other spouse responding with allegations of their own and animosity can quickly arise.

Anger and resentment often spill over into the other parts of the process such as decisions about child care and financial settlements. Every aspect of each party’s life will be affected by divorce and what happens during an unreasonable behaviour split can result in long lasting resentment between the two people involved, their children, their families and friends.

Government ministers are now being urged to support a bill that could bring the first major change to divorce law for half a century. This change could in turn help tens of thousands of separating spouses from being caught up in the same destructive cycle as so many have before them.

Extensive research confirms that the current divorce laws can exacerbate conflict between couples. Baroness Butler-Sloss, a former president of the High Court Family Division has prepared a private members bill to try to improve the system for all concerned. Over many years she has had first hand experience of the problems the current law can cause.

For years family lawyers have supported the principle of ‘no fault’ divorce. – This new private members bill requires the government to debate and enact ‘no fault’ divorces into statute so that this can be relied upon when relationships break down in future. It is expected to receive cross party support.

The proposal is that there is a nine month ‘cooling off’ period, and a divorce could be granted automatically if one or both parties confirm that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

Nicholas Clough and Sally Leaman of Price Slater Gawne are experienced Family and Divorce solicitors who can advise you in relation to any questions or concerns you may have in relation to the breakdown of your relationship. You can call into our offices in Altrincham or if you prefer they will meet you at your own home or other venue, to suit you, in your own time.  If you need their help and would like to contact with Nicholas or Sally please call 0161 615 5554.