A delegation from the family law association Resolution travelled to Westminster yesterday to make their case for MPs to legislate for no-fault divorce.
150 members visited Parliament to set out their case for a change in the law, discussing their concerns about the current regime with representatives from both the House of Commons and the Lords.
Resolution has long argued that the current system, which often results in a party having to attribute blame even if they don’t want to, tends to increase arguments and makes an acrimonious break-up more likely.
The campaign for change has the support of a number of senior members of the judiciary and was recently the topic of a Commons briefing paper, but successive administrations have shown little appetite for pushing through a change in the law.
Nigel Shepherd, Resolution’s national chairman, said it was quite clear that the current legislation was “not fit” for modern society.
“Divorce is already difficult enough, we don’t need it being made harder by the law pushing couples into conflicts and arguments,” he said.
“For so many to descend on Parliament to lobby MPs and Peers shows that it is time for politicians to act, and bring an end to the blame game.”
Suzy Shepherd, who recently divorced her husband of 14 years, is among those who have expressed their dissatisfaction with current arrangements.
She felt that her only choice was to cite “unreasonable behaviour” on the divorce forms, which she wasn’t comfortable with. Her experience has convinced her that a new option of “irreconcilable differences” should be recognised under UK law.
“Our split was almost entirely amicable, once we decided to part, right up to the point where we had to legally apportion blame in order to be able to divorce. My husband did behave unreasonably at times as the relationship broke down, but so did I.
“You have to cite examples of the other person’s bad behaviour, so it dredged up a lot of unpleasant memories and issues at a time when we were trying our utmost to keep things on an even keel for ourselves and our children.
“If we could have just had the dignity of a no-fault divorce I think it would have helped a lot to soothe this painful experience.”