As the Court of Appeal grapples with the legal arguments about Boris Johnson’s decision to prorogue Parliament for five weeks until the 14th October, many unhappy couples are stuck in their marriages as the bill for no-fault divorce has not been implemented in time for the suspension. The suspension of Parliament means that the proposed legislation has been dropped for now.
Existing divorce law is seriously outdated and campaigns for no-fault divorce have attracted wide support. The proposed change to the law would allow parties to file for divorce without relying on any blame.
Currently, unless a couple have been separated for at least 2 years, anyone looking to file for a divorce has to prove that their spouse’s behaviour has been unreasonable, that they have committed adultery or have deserted them. As a consequence of the recent political events, many couples who were planning to wait for the implementation of no-fault divorce are being forced to stay in un-happy marriages for longer.
As things stand, couples who don’t want to rely on fault-based divorce have to wait until they have been separated for two years if both parties consent. However, if one spouse doesn’t give their consent, that period extends to five years. So, some couples may have to wait years to end their marriages.
With widespread support, will we see Parliament pick up the overdue reforms when they return on the 14th October? Many couples will be hoping so.