Lies in a divorce petition

The time has come to introduce divorce without blame, argues Conservative MPThe law should not require couples to ‘throw mud at each other’ and should instead allow for divorce without blame, according to a backbench Conservative MP.

In 2012, official figures showed that over 72,000 divorce petitions included allegations of adultery or unreasonable behaviour.

Research conducted by YouGov in June 2015 found that 52 per cent of divorce petitions were fault based, alleging the same, and that 27 per cent of divorcing couples who asserted blame in their petition admitted the allegation of fault was not true.

The family law organisation Resolution claims the fault-based nature of divorce in England and Wales is driving over a quarter of divorcing couples to make false allegations because it is the easiest way of securing a divorce.

The introduction of a no-fault divorce petition is the subject of a ten-minute motion to be debated in the House of Commons on 13 October 2015, brought by Tory MP Richard Bacon and supported by Resolution.

The Conservative MP for South Norfolk said more than a quarter of those applying for fault-based divorces are deliberately misleading the courts because the law requires them to show specific evidence that their marriage has irretrievably broken down.

‘In practice, this means that even couples who do not want to apportion blame may be pushed by the law along a path they do not wish to take,’ he added. ‘A simple signed declaration by each party to a divorce that the marriage had broken down irretrievably should be sufficient.’

The parliamentarian said he was in favour a ‘cooling off’ period of 12 months before a divorce could be made absolute, because ‘marriages are sometimes saveable’.

‘It should also be easier to access counselling and arguably it should even be compulsory,’ he continued. ‘But where marriages are not saveable, and sadly this does happen, the law should not require couples to throw mud at each other. The time has come to introduce the option of divorce without blame.’

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