No-fault divorce option takes another step forward

By Lenore Rice

Last month, Lord Chancellor David Gauke introduced the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill to the House of Commons, and last week the Bill reached the committee stage.

The Bill, which contains provisions for a no-fault option in divorce proceedings, has been met with relative enthusiasm. It appears that the majority of the involved parties are unanimous in their desire for the introduction of a no-fault option in divorce proceedings, and what remains now is to iron out the nuances of the Bill.

The former chair of the family law group Resolution, Nigel Shepherd, was particularly optimistic when asked about the Bill, claiming that he thought “the Bill has got it right at the moment.” He went on to highlight that the Bill is a unique opportunity to introduce to prospect of a no-fault divorce in a way which is understandable and accessible.

Simplicity appears to be at the forefront of discussions surrounding the 2019 Bill, as it was over-complication which hindered the Family Law Act 1996. This Act originally contained provisions for a no-fault divorce option, which were ultimately removed when they were deemed to be “extremely complicated.”

Campaigners remain hopeful that the Bill will maintain its uncharacteristically swift momentum through Parliament, as a no-fault divorce option has long been sought as a means to facilitate divorce proceedings and reduce animosity between the separating couple. Campaigners in Northern Ireland, in particular, are optimistic that the proposed changes will find their way across the water.  

If you require legal advice from a divorce solicitor in Northern Ireland, contact Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast or Bangor by clicking here.