Divorce for the 21st Century
  • 21st May 2014
  • Article written by Daniel Bennett
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At Whitehead Monckton, our Family Law team is into Resolution, whether with a big  “R” or a small one.. We are keen on resolving family problems using all of the available options for clients before court is considered: collaborative law, mediation, arbitration and solicitor-led negotiation. We’re also keen on following the principles of the national family lawyer organisation Resolution – to minimise conflict and reduce the impact of separation upon children.

In 1996, Resolution members were instrumental in lobbying hard for a change in divorce law to establish a “no fault divorce” in the Family Law Act 1996.  Unfortunately the sections relating to “no fault divorce” were not included in the Act..  So while divorce in other countries can be completed on a “no fault” basis, the only option for couples in this country is to elect for a divorce on the basis of 2 years separation where both parties give their consent, or use a fault based case.

Resolution has continued to call for a change in the law since 1996 and until recently, those pleas have fallen on deaf ears. However, at the recent Resolution Conference in Manchester, Sir James Munby, the President of the Family Division called for a radical streamlining of family law so that divorces are not dealt with by Judges and Courts, but administratively, like marriages and deaths.

Sir James noted in his address to members that successive governments have failed to grapple with the issue and it was time to address the injustice.

With the changes to legal aid and pressures on courts, we may yet see changes to the legislation to implement this “no fault” concept in law. As and when changes are made, we will let you know.

Chair of Kent Resolution