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Langleys back No Fault Divorce appeal in light of the Owens v Owens case

May 17th, 2018

Mark Day, Partner and Head of Family Law

At Langleys, we’re supporting the calls for the introduction of ‘no fault divorce’, backing Resolution’s plea for A Better Way.

Resolution, the national family justice organisation, is leading the campaign, championing the need for change in how the law treats divorcing couples.

With many solicitors within the firm active members of Resolution and some Accredited Specialists, the team are committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes involving the family home and finances after separation or arrangements for the children. This dedication to minimising conflict is why the campaign is particularly important to us.

Why is a ‘no fault divorce’ option needed?

Currently, unless parties have lived apart for at least two years, they must rely on fault allegations introduced in 1973. This means that fault must be alleged either in the form of ‘unreasonable behaviour’ or ‘adultery’.

The introduction of no fault divorce would allow couples to divorce without one partner having to blame the other for the relationship’s breakdown, says Resolution. This would help separating families minimise arguments.

The call for change comes as the Supreme Court is due to hear the case of Owens v Owens in which Mrs Owens is appealing a decision not to grant her a divorce.
Her divorce was originally rejected because the examples of ‘unreasonable behaviour’ she provided – required under current law – were deemed not ‘unreasonable’ enough. The case is due to be heard at the Supreme Court on 17 May and will be scrutinised keenly by family lawyers, eager for reform.

Time for a change

The law as it currently stands is outdated and we support the move to end the divorce blame game. It does not make sense in circumstances where the financial aspects of divorce are resolved without reference to fault and in the vast majority of cases there is not reference to fault when determining issues relating to children.

As members of Resolution we are committed to a non-confrontational approach to resolving family issues and we truly hope that, through campaigns such as this, the laws surrounding divorce can be modernised to better serve those that need them. 

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