Family lawyers welcome end to ‘blame game’

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Family law experts at Trethowans have welcomed major changes to divorce law announced this week, adding that it will help hundreds of local couples achieve a more amicable separation.

On Tuesday Justice Secretary David Gauke approved reforms to existing law, which means that it’s not possible for spouses to divorce without having to apportion blame to one of the parties involved if they wish to divorce immediately. Trethowans has long supported the campaign by Resolution, a national body which represents family lawyers, to change this with the introduction of a no-fault divorce.

Kimberley Davies from Trethowans’ family team in Bournemouth and Poole said: “We’re pleased to see that the law is to be changed following this campaign. It’s an extremely welcome development and one which is long overdue. Where a couple acknowledge that their marriage has irretrievably broken down they must be allowed to secure its dissolution without having to resort to blame.”

With 118,000 divorce petitions being issued in England and Wales last year, Emma says that the changes will have widespread impact for local couples.

Kimberley added: “It is important that couples are encouraged to adopt a conciliatory approach where possible. This is essential in order to ensure a positive post separation parental relationship for the benefit of any children of the family.  This is something we work hard to promote. This new law will assist in reducing elements of hostility in the divorce process.”

Under the new law, couples can rely on the marriage having irretrievably broken down without apportioning blame, fault or reason if they do not wish to wait for a period of separation of at least two years. This reduces the need to rely on “unreasonable behaviour” or “adultery” when issuing a divorce petition.

The new law is not in force yet and Kimberley says that it could take some time until the ‘no fault divorce’ becomes a reality. “Unfortunately, this new legislation cannot be introduced until Parliamentary time is available,” Kimberley says. “How long this will take is anyone’s guess  – particularly with the matter of Brexit keeping MPs busy – but this is still a significant step in the right direction for many.”

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