President of Family Division Backs No-fault DivorceFebruary 10, 2011
In a speech to over 300 Resolution¹ delegates, Sir Nicholas Wall, President of the Family Division said ‘My position is very simple. I am a strong believer in marriage. But I see no good arguments against no-fault divorce.’ Under current law, it is insufficient to show that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of marriage. If you want to divorce by mutual consent, you have to wait two years. If there is no consent, it is 5 years. The only immediate grounds for divorce in this country remain adultery or unreasonable behaviour which reinforces a ‘blame’ culture. In my experience, this causes unnecessary delay and acrimony at the outset of an already distressing process. Previous attempts to reform the law have failed on the basis that a no-fault divorce would increase breakups rather than help families. It is my view that it is only after much soul searching and often counselling that steps are taken to commence a divorce process and a change in the law would be unlikely to cause people to rush into something they subsequently regretted. I am a supporter of any steps that can help prevent or reduce the trauma for the whole family that inevitably accompanies a separation and would call upon the government for an overhaul of the divorce laws to achieve this. ¹Resolution is a group of over 6500 family lawyers and professionals in England and Wales. It promotes a non confrontational, constructive approach to resolving family disputes. Liz Hebden at Walker Foster is a member.