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According to the office of National Statistics there was a rise in the number of divorces in 2016 and it was the highest number since 2009 although this is still lower than in previous years.

The current divorce laws in England and Wales are governed by the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.  Since that date although there have been many calls for an update to the divorce laws, to date no action has been taken by any government.  In particular, for most divorces to proceed, one party has to “blame” the other, either on the basis of unreasonable behaviour, or adultery.

“Resolution – First for Family Law” is a body which represents approximately 6,500 Family Solicitors and Legal Executives across England and Wales.  Resolution, supported by their members, has been calling a change in the law so that parties are able to divorce each other, should a marriage unfortunately fail, on a no-fault basis.

Professor Liz Trinder Professor of Socio-legal Studies at the University of Exeter has recently released a report (October 2017) which can be found at .  This report suggests that the current divorce laws should be updated to remove the need for fault.

Having to blame one party for the breakdown of a marriage simply increases the stress and animosity between parties at a hugely difficult and emotional stage of their lives.  As Resolution say “It’s time to make no-fault the default”. We, at Everys, support the calls a no-fault divorce to be introduced.

But until a no-fault divorce process is introduced, what can you do to make the divorce process as stress free as possible?

First of all you should make sure you instruct a solicitor who is a member of Resolution.  Members of Resolution are committed to a code of practice that promotes the resolution of the issues in a constructive but non aggressive manner. 

What might this mean? You may have to divorce your spouse on the grounds of their unreasonable behaviour but the wording of the divorce petition itself can be agreed, as far as possible, by the parties.  The divorce petition must still demonstrate the unreasonable behaviour of one party but if it has been agreed, it means that the party who is being divorced is not shocked by the petition and its contents when it lands on their doorstep. 

Sometimes for the protection of a party, or more importantly a child, it is not always possible to agree the petition or to give notice about what is happening, but where it is possible, it is best practice.

Divorce is stressful, upsetting and a difficult time in most people’s lives, choosing the right solicitor to help you through the process is essential.

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