Breaking down the traditional view of blame in divorce

8th March 2015 by


In April 2014, the President of the High Court Family Division, Sir James Munby, spoke out about his hopes for family law reforms which would change the face of legal advice for divorce.

Speaking at a news conference, Sir James said the formal introduction of “no-fault” divorces would bring “intellectual honesty” to a system which otherwise requires blame to be apportioned as part of the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage.

The long-standing method for seeking divorce requires an applicant to prove a ground for divorce, and a district judge must then decide whether the reason given is valid.

However, Sir James called for a system whereby divorce, the legal dissolution of a marriage, would be handled by an administrator, much as births, deaths and marriages are handled by a registrar.

To read more legal advice for divorce and to understand the ‘grounds’ please click here.

What divorce solicitors and family organisations think

While some divorce lawyers agreed that procedures could benefit from streamlining to enable greater efficiency within the court process, many felt that taking away the court’s involvement in divorce, i.e the judicial supervision, would leave the system open to abuse.

A spokesperson for Relate said that although a purely administrative divorce would be beneficial in cases where the breakup was amicable, and the couple had agreed issues such as finances, children arrangements and division of property, where the divorce was disputed, a judge should remain the “final arbiter” to ensure that any agreement is legally binding and fair.

While one of the five accepted grounds for divorce is two years separation (if both parties agree to the divorce) and this can be seen as a ‘no-fault’ means, many solicitors agree that their clients, especially those who have suffered during a marriage, would wish to see ‘fault’ remain as one of the reasons for a marriage breakdown.

Will the divorce system change?

According to reports from the BBC, following Sir James Munby’s calls for reform, a spokesperson form the Ministry of Justice said the government was not, at the time, planning “to introduce ‘no-fault divorces or amend the laws around cohabitation”.

Do you need legal advice for divorce?

If you wish to find out more about getting a divorce and how Healys’ family lawyers could help you during negotiations for a divorce settlement, please contact the team today.

We have many years’ experience in the field and have helped many clients to successfully bring or defend financial claims.

We can also provide legal services during negotiations surrounding children arrangements, and can advise you on matters of parental responsibility, contact and residence.

You can call us at our London on Brighton offices or email the team at