Government still says No to “No fault divorces”

The Government has recently stated it has no plans to introduce a “no fault” divorce, despite lots of public pressure to change the Law. Many clients are surprised to learn that it is not as simple as asking for a divorce and being granted one. There is only one ground for divorce which is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. You are then required to rely upon one of five facts in support, namely adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, two years separation with consent or five years separation. In the case of civil partnerships, adultery isn’t available as a fact to rely upon.

We often see clients who have been separated and who want to get divorced but they cannot find a suitable fact to rely upon. There may have been no adultery or unreasonable behaviour and the couple have simply drifted apart. In those circumstances they have to wait until they have been separated for two years (if both parties agree to the divorce) or five years if their spouse won’t agree. This can be frustrating for clients. So why does the Government not introduce a “no fault” divorce?

The Government has said that they have no current plans to change the laws around divorce but they are looking at ways in which the family justice system can be improved. Resolution, an organisation promoting the resolution of family matters in an amicable way, has conducted research of its members which shows that 9 out of 10 family law solicitors support a no fault divorce. The Burd Ward family team are members of Resolution and we also support a no fault divorce being introduced. It is frustrating that at present there doesn’t appear to be any changes to divorce law on the horizon. Whilst Divorce isn’t something that should be entered into lightly, sometimes when couples have decided that they need to separate and want to do it amicably, it is unfortunate that they have to list their grounds for Divorce on paper. It would help separating couples deal with matters much more amicably if they were able to agree to a Divorce without having to wait 2 years.

If you are considering separating or starting divorce proceedings, it is well worth taking legal advice before you take any steps. At Burd Ward we offer a fixed fee of £350 + VAT and disbursements for handling your divorce. There is a Court fee of £550 to pay however depending on your income you may be eligible for some relief from this. We can assist you to fill in a fee remission form which can be sent to the Court who will then assess whether you have to pay all, some or none of the Court fee.

Using a solicitor to handle your divorce gives you peace of mind to ensure that your divorce progresses as smoothly as possible. There are often issues around finances and children upon separation and our experienced family team and are able to advise and represent you through those aspects of a separation. We are committed to trying to help you resolve your divorce amicably where possible, including the issues relating to your children and your finances. Sometimes, an amicable settlement isn’t able to happen and we will provide you with robust legal advice to guide you along the way and to protect your interests. Your case will be directly handled by one of our Solicitors giving you expert advice and guidance throughout.

If you would like more information regarding divorce proceedings please contact our family team of experienced solicitors John Burd, Victoria Syvret and Laura Prysor-Jones on 0151 639 8273 or email

If you would like some initial guidance and advice regarding divorce or any other family matter, we offer an initial consultation with our solicitors for £60. Contact the office to make an appointment.

Posted on March 10th, 2017 by Burd Ward