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Lichfield legal expert backs calls for reform of divorce laws

A Lichfield family law expert has backed calls for divorce law reform in England and Wales, as the most recently released statistics highlighted the flaws of a “blame-centred” divorce process.

The latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that behaviour and adultery were cited in the vast majority of divorces.

In 2008, of all decrees awarded to one partner (rather than jointly to both), 67 per cent were awarded to the wife. In more than half of the cases where the divorce was granted to the wife, the husband’s behaviour was the fact proven. Of the divorces granted to the husband, the most common fact proven was the wife’s behaviour (34 per cent of cases).

Resolution, the national family lawyers association, says that this is because couples cannot currently get a divorce without having to blame one another for unreasonable behaviour or adultery unless they wait for two years.

Helen Bradin

Helen Bradin

Helen Bradin, of Bradin Trubshaw & Kirwan, said:

“Family break ups are a sad fact of modern life. With one in three children experiencing the breakup of their parents’ relationship before their 16th birthday, it’s essential that conflict is kept to a minimum when families separate. But, as these figures show, the present system encourages mud-slinging and blame.

“At the moment, couples not wanting to blame one another have to wait two years before they can get a divorce. But for many, waiting two years to sort out their finances rules out this option.”

Resolution is calling for a new system whereby couples can divorce on the grounds of “irretrievable breakdown” of their marriage, with a maximum waiting period of six months.

Helen added:

“We urgently need to replace this blame-centred divorce process with a civilised process for a civilised society. This is a universal issue that Resolution has flagged up, and one I’ve seen time and time again in the divorce cases I’ve handled here in Lichfield.”

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