On 13 October 2015, Richard Bacon MP introduced a Bill to Parliament proposing an amendment to family law which could enable couples to say that there was no fault for the break up and to apply for a “no fault divorce”. This would involve both parties making a separate declaration that the marriage or civil partnership had “irretrievably broken down” which is the ground that needs to be satisfied to enable a person to be able to petition for divorce. The other requirement being that the parties have to have been married for at least 1 year.
The current facts that can be relied on for a divorce are:-
- Unreasonable behaviour
- 2 years’ separation and consent
- 5 years’ separation
This means that unless the parties had been separated for at least 2 years then the other facts involve some element of blame directed towards the other party which can cause further animosity and frustrate the process in what is already an emotive time for both parties. Mr. Bacon is reported as saying that the current proposal is not seeking to make the divorce process easier but that he wanted to give parties an option to divorce without blame.
It is reported that MPs passed the first reading of the bill and it is expected to have a second reading debate on 4 December 2015. Further updates will be provided as this Bill progresses through Parliament.