Britain’s most senior family law judge has declared its time for no-fault divorce to be the standard form of divorce in the UK.
Sir Nicholas Wall, who is president of the High Court Family Division, said that there was “no good arguments against no-fault divorce” that he could see.
Currently divorce law in England and Wales means that a person has to file a divorce petition in court stating that their marriage has broken down, citing one of five reasons – adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion after two years, two years’ separation with consent or five years’ separation without consent. If both parties do not dispute these grounds and the court agrees, then a decree nisi is drawn up, followed by a decree absolute, which ends the marriage.
Plans were drawn up for no-fault divorces in 1996, but scrapped before implementation.
Speaking to a conference of family lawyers, Sir Nicholas said: “In the 19th Century and for much of the 20th, divorce was a matter of social status – it mattered whether you were divorced or not, and if you were, it was important to demonstrate that you were the ‘innocent party’. All that, I think, has gone.”