A revealing new study has found three in 10 bent the truth about adultery, unreasonable behaviour or the length of separation to guarantee their divorce petition wouldn’t get blocked under the current system, which requires couples to find fault.
More than a third said being forced to assign blame added to their anguish, with 42% claiming it also upset their children. And more than one in four claimed the process left them with bitter feelings towards their ex, dashing their hopes of keeping the break-up amicable.
Divorce law was thrown into the spotlight recently with the case of Tini Owens who wants to end her 40-year marriage to husband Hugh. His behaviour, while deemed unreasonable by his wife, was not enough to convince the Supreme Court, however, but prompted calls for a radical overhaul of the law.
Following the Tini Owens case, more than 1,000 divorced Brits have been surveyed, with 80% saying they would have opted for a ‘no-fault’ divorce if the law allowed.
Currently couples can only obtain a divorce if they cite one of the following reasons; unreasonable behaviour, adultery, desertion or if they’ve been separated for more than two years with the consent of either parties, or five years without.
Family lawyer, Joanne Green, said: “Many couples feel they are stuck between a rock and a hard place, they want to split on good terms but have to find fault in order to get a divorce. The Tini Owens case has highlighted how divorce law just hasn’t kept up with the times. Clearly, many couples would prefer an amicable, no fault split, but far from helping that happen the current process seems to inflame the situation and incites couples to enter into a blame game.
“It’s also important to point out that not being truthful in a court document is a serious issue and if people are found to have done so, they could be liable to serious consequences.”
The end of a relationship is a difficult time under the best of circumstances without the pressure of having to attribute blame where there simply may not be any. Slater and Gordon, say it could save many couples from feeling they had to bend the truth about the breakdown of their marriage.
Of all of the divorcees surveyed, 89% agreed that having the option of a no-fault divorce could save couples money and many felt it would also would have been resolved quicker. However despite the vast majority of those surveyed agreeing that a no-fault divorce should be allowed legally, 72% said the option may make couples more blasé about getting a divorce.