November 29, 2016

Good Divorce Week 2016

Written by Sara Plant

Resolution, the organisation of 6,500 family lawyers and other professionals in England and Wales who believe in a constructive, non-confrontational approach to family law matters, are promoting Good Divorce Week between 28th November and 2nd December.
On Wednesday (30th November), the group will be holding a Lobby Day in Parliament, where over 150 of our members will be travelling to Westminster to meet with their MP.
The group is seeking to raise awareness of alternatives to courtroom clashes and will be campaigning to improve the rights for cohabiting couples as well as no fault divorce.
No Fault Divorce is a Divorce in which the dissolution of a marriage does not require a showing of wrongdoing by either party.
In the UK, there is only one ground for Divorce – that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, but that has to be supported by one of five facts:-

  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Two years separation with the Respondent’s consent.
  • Desertion for continuous period of at least two years
  • Five years separation
  • Adultery of Respondent

The No Fault Divorce bill was introduced to Parliament on the 13th October 2015 and was due to have a second reading earlier this year. It is a bill to allow dissolution of marriage or civil partnership on a sixth fault – i.e. that each party agrees that the marriage has irretrievably broken down without need for either party to blame the other.
There is a great deal of controversy surrounding this as many argue that the no fault divorce rewards wrong doers and allows a party who is actually at fault to obtain a Divorce. On the other hand, the fault-based system can invite endless litigation, an increase in Legal costs and generally make the Divorce process even more painful for the parties.
Often, parties are forced reluctantly to exaggerate and overstate marital difficulties in order to blame the other party and satisfy the unreasonable behaviour test.
When it comes to finances, Judges will not be influenced by the basis for the Divorce or the behaviour of the parties when considering how the money should be shared out. Bad behaviour will only be taken into account if it is exceptional or if it is conduct of a financial nature such as dishonestly hiding assets or money, or deliberately dissipating the assets. There are very strict rules about full and frank disclosure of assets.
Frequently, however, guilt can play a part in terms of financial settlement if one party feels that they need to make amends to the other one for bad behaviour or adultery.
It is a common error in a Divorce for people to focus too much on establishing whose fault the Divorce is. Battling about fault through lawyers is an expensive and stressful waste of time. Often people do not realise that this will have no bearing on finances in any event.
So much of family law is about Judicial discretion. It is important for someone facing a Divorce to find an experienced and sympathetic Solicitor who will work to promote a fair and reasonable settlement rather than engage in retaliation and retribution through correspondence.
At Peter Lynn and Partners we have arguably the largest divorce and family law team in the region. With 14 lawyers and 8 support staff working across the city, we bring a successful combination of experience and resources when working with clients.
For more information please contact our Divorce and Family Law team on 01792 450010.