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Can My Husband and I Pursue a No-Fault Divorce?

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In our Ask The Legal Expert column we get the latest specialist advice from JCP Solicitors. 

This month Angela Killa, who is in the Family Law team, and is based in JCP Solicitors’ Carmarthen office, tackles an issue around no-fault divorce.

My husband and I have decided to split. We are friendly and we wish to remain so. We have no children. Must we apportion blame for the breakdown of our marriage?

MPs have approved the no-fault divorce ruling, in a move that is  being welcomed by many legal experts, who have seen some couples left in limbo due to prevailing legislation on the matter.

However, couples seeking a no-fault divorce will have to wait until at least autumn 2021 before the change to current legislation takes effect. The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill will now return to the House of Lords to consider an amendment before receiving Royal assent.

Legal bodies have been campaigning for some decades for the change to be implemented in order to update what many see as an outmoded legal stance, which sees couple having to prove the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage before they can divorce.  

The change will enable couples to petition for divorce jointly rather than being forced to apportion blame for the split. The introduction of a new minimum time-frame of six months – from petition to the marriage being ended - means this change is not likely to lead to quickie divorces, as some critics have feared. The new laws will also prevent people refusing a divorce if their spouse wants one.

However, as the law stands at the moment, the only grounds for divorce is irretrievable breakdown, and our laws also require proof that the marriage is at an end by citing one of five facts:

  • Two years of separation. However, you will need your husband to agree and sign a specific document to confirm this
  • Five years of separation. In this case you do not need your husband’s agreement
  • Two years of desertion. This does not require agreement
  • Adultery. This does not require consent, but it is difficult to prove, so it usually requires an admission of adultery or agreement from the other party
  • Unreasonable behavior. This does not require agreement, but, of course, unreasonable behavior is subjective 

Clearly, if a couple can reach an accord the divorce process will be simpler and less costly. Divorce continues to be one of the most stressful life events anyone can go through and it is important to seek tailored legal advice on the matter. For more information, contact Angela on 01267 248893 or: angela.killa@jcpsolicitors.co.uk.

The question posed is based upon a hypothetical situation.


Angela is an Associate Solicitor in our Family team based at our Carmarthen Office, specialising in all aspects of Family Law including complex children matters, divorce and financial remedies. Contact Angela on 01267 248893 or email angela.killa@jcpsolicitors.co.uk.

For further advice, please contact our specialist Family Solicitors in:

  • Swansea: 01792 773773
  • Cardiff: 02920 225472
  • Carmarthen: 01267 234022
  • Caerphilly: 02920 860628
  • Cowbridge: 01446 771742
  • Haverfordwest: 01437 764723
  • Fishguard: 01348 873671
  • Pontypridd: 01443 408455

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