Divorce proceedings could become faultless

A leading member of the UK’s judiciary has called for an end to fault-based divorce proceedings, which she feels will reduce the stress and bitterness of a relationship’s breakdown.

Baroness Brenda Hale, deputy president of the Supreme Court, said that Britain should adopt a no-fault system of divorce, in which no grounds were needed, during an interview with the Evening Standard.

Under the current system divorcing couples must give at least one of five reasons before a divorce can be granted by the courts. These include adultery, unreasonable behaviour or two years’ consensual separation, but Lady Hale has said that this system requires reforming to make it cheaper, easier and less stressful.

She as the most senior female member of the judiciary in the UK, has recommended that divorcing couples should be allowed to declare a marriage has failed, with no specific reason having to be cited. After the declaration couples would have to wait for a year, as a kind of cooling off time, before the divorce was finalised.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, she said: “You would make a declaration that your marriage had irretrievably broken down and if you were still of that view a year later, then you get your divorce.

“It should reduce cost and it would certainly reduce the need to produce a list of the other person’s failings which you have to do now on the most popular ground, which is the other party’s behaviour.”

Lady Hale also recently reaffirmed her position on pre-nuptial agreements, saying that they were designed to “almost always to give someone less than they would be otherwise entitled to”.

She confirmed that she would continue to oppose them from becoming legally binding, despite a 50 per cent increase in the number of agreements being taken out by couples.