Catherine Lowther - Divorce Specialist

Non Fault Divorce


A researcher at the House of Commons library has recently published a paper into the possibility of non fault divorce proceedings.

Currently, the law requires 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.

The first three of these options constitute what is commonly known as a fault based divorce.

The idea of non fault divorce proceedings was first proposed under the Family Law Act 1996, however, this was deemed to be “unworkable” and the provision was thereafter dismissed.

However, in subsequent years, the movement towards non fault divorce proceedings has continued to gain in momentum with groups such as Resolution and the Family Mediation Task Force continuing to call for change.

In addition to this, the President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, has made speeches indicating his support for such a change to the law. These calls for change continue to be met with resistance, with claims that a non-fault divorce system would lead to an increase in divorce rates.

However, this movement towards non 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. 

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.

View All Articles >