Time to end the divorce blame game, say hundreds of legal professionals

20 Apr 2018

Bristol – Hundreds of family lawyers are gathering to highlight the urgent need to introduce no-fault divorce. The call for change takes place at the annual conference of Resolution, the national family justice organisation.

This comes less than one month ahead of the controversial Owens v Owenshearing at the Supreme Court, where Mrs Owens is appealing the decision not to grant her a divorce. Her divorce was originally rejected because the examples of ‘unreasonable behaviour’ she provided – required under current law – were deemed not ‘unreasonable’ enough.

Founded to promote a non-confrontational approach to family issues, Resolution says now is the time for no-fault divorce to be introduced. This would allow couples to divorce without one partner having to blame the other for the relationship’s breakdown, which Resolution says would help separating families minimise arguments and conflict.

Resolution has long campaigned for no-fault divorce, which it says would bring us in line with countries like Australia and the US and go a long way in reducing the acrimony from divorce and its subsequent impact on children. Wider support has been steadily growing, including from successive Presidents of the Family Division, Supreme Court Judge Lord Wilson of Culworth and President of the Supreme Court, Lady Hale.

Margaret Heathcote, National Chair of Resolution, said “It is ridiculous that, in the twenty-first century, Mrs Owens has had to go to the highest court in the land in order to try to get her divorce.

“Resolution will be at the Supreme Court next month as interveners, showing our support for Mrs Owens and countless others like her who are either trapped in a loveless marriage and unable to get on with their lives; or forced to assign blame in order to do so. It’s outdated, it’s unfair and it’s time for things to change.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  • Representing 6,500 family justice professionals, Resolution is an industry body uniting those committed to a non-confrontational approach to resolving family issues. Resolution also campaigns for improvements to the family justice system.
  • The Owens v Owens case will be heard at the Supreme Court on 17 May.
  • Resolution’s National Conference takes place in Bristol on 20-21 April 2018, supported by 1 King’s Bench Walk, 36 Family, 29 Bedford Row, QEB, 4 Paper Buildings, Harcourt Chambers, Lexis Nexis, Practical Law Family, 3 Paper Buildings, Albion Chambers and St John’s Chambers.
  • The Conference is an annual event, taking place in a different part of the country each year. Resolution’s 2019 Conference will be held in Manchester.