As Strictly Come Dancing fans delight in the glamour and infectious laughter portrayed on our TV screens during this year’s series, it is also great to see professional dancers Karen and Kevin Clifton working together and supporting each other so effortlessly following their decision to divorce.  In the media Kevin and Karen have been praised for their united front, leaving hearts melting after Kevin jumps over the sofa to congratulate Karen following her outstanding performance.

Sadly, some would still say it is a rarity, for a couple to remain amicable whilst dealing with their separation.  It is often the case that during this time emotions will run high resulting in an acrimonious divorce process for those involved.  However, a non-confrontational approach is preferred, to agree a way forward if possible.  It is argued therefore that the current law governing divorce in this country does not fit with this modern attitude.

Let’s have a look at the current law relating to divorce in England and Wales, this is governed by The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.

Either party to the marriage may petition for a divorce on the sole ground that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.  This must be done by satisfying the Court of one or more of the following facts:

(a) adultery

(b)unreasonable behaviour

(c)Desertion for a continuous period of at least two years

(d)The parties have lived apart for a continuous period of at least two years and the other party consents to a divorce (“two years’ separation”)

(e)The parties have lived apart for a continuous period of at least five years (“five years’ separation”).

It will often be the case, especially when a party seeks a divorce quickly, that a fact blaming one party or the other must be used.  There is a risk this will amplify difficulties between the parties whether they wish to avoid hostility or not and doesn’t promote a more desirable, amicable way. 

Support for reform of the law has continued to develop over the years for a “no fault” divorce.  The recent news that the Ministry of Justice will again consult to reform old legislation has been welcomed.

In the meantime,…

If you do need assistance with any family law related matter, then please do not hesitate to contact me for an initial discussion on 0121 726 4999 or email at jennifer@pickfordsolicitors.com

And… ”keep dancing…..”