Why no fault divorce

End the blame game

The problem

Our divorce law is now over 50 years old. Couples seeking a divorce in England and Wales must either spend a minimum of two years separated or one must blame the other for the marriage breakdown, citing adultery or unreasonable behaviour. Even if both partners mutually agree the relationship is over, they still must apportion blame if they wish to waive the two-year waiting period.

In 2015, 60% of divorces in England and Wales were granted on adultery or unreasonable behaviour. By contrast in Scotland where divorce law is different, this percentage was only 6%.

This often creates conflict and makes reaching a mutually acceptable agreement much more difficult. We're particularly concerned about the impact conflict and confrontation between separating parents has on their children.

Removing the need to blame from the divorce process will increase chances of successful non-court dispute resolution, in turn reducing the burden on the family court.

Our solution

Resolution proposes a new divorce procedure, where one or both partners can give notice that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. The divorce can then proceed and, after a period of six months, if either or both partners still think they are making the right decision, the divorce is finalised.  

Make no fault the default

Wider reform in family justice is focused on reducing conflict and promoting resolution, supporting the Government’s plans to help people resolve issues out of court.

Resolution is not alone in calling for change. Successive Presidents of the Family Division have stressed the need for reform. Many other countries around the world – including Australia, the United States, and Spain – allow for divorce without blame. Research from the Nuffield Foundation, published in 2017, also backs our calls for reform.

There are a few things that you can do to help us lobby government. You can:

  • Write to your MP and ask them to support our call for no fault divorce
  • Write a blog on your own experiences, or get in touch to share your story
  • Join in on Twitter using the hashtag #abetterway