Catherine Lowther, Family Solicitor

End of the Blame Game – No Fault Divorce Given the Green Light



In an update to our article on non-fault divorce published in October 2018, it has been confirmed today that divorce laws in England and Wales are to be overhauled. In future, divorcing couples will only have to state that the marriage has irretrievably broken down rather than using the current system.

The Justice Secretary, David Gauke, acknowledged that the current process “makes it more acrimonious and tries to apportion blame in such a way that the couple is more likely to have a weaker, poorer relationship subsequently”. Furthermore, Aidan Jones, CEO of Relate has identified that this level of animosity has an impact upon the children of divorcing couples.

This movement towards no fault divorce proceedings also highlights a trend towards separating couples utilising methods of alternative dispute resolution, such as Collaborative Law and Mediation, to resolve their disputes.

Whilst no fault divorce is now on the horizon, no timescales are currently available as to when the changes are likely to be implemented. The new laws are to be introduced “as soon as parliamentary time allows”.

In the meantime the law will continue to require the Petitioner in divorce proceedings to prove to the Court that the marriage has irretrievably broken down based on one of the following five facts:-

  • Adultery,
  • Unreasonable behaviour,
  • Desertion,
  • Two years separation with Consent, or
  • Five years separation.


Swinburne Maddison’s Family Department have a number of Accredited Specialist Family Lawyers, as well as a trained Collaborative Lawyer and Mediator, all of whom will offer you a tailored service to guide you through divorce or separation in a fair and amicable manner.

Should you require any specialist legal advice in relation to divorce, separation or finances please contact either Kath Hill ( or Catherine Lowther ( either by email or on 0191 384 2441

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