Category: Family

22 Feb 2019

No Fault Divorce- Is It Time For Change?

At Stuart Q Murphy we understand that family law matters are often highly emotive, especially where young children are involved, and require a comprehensive knowledge of the law. In 2018 a particular divorce case raised a lot of points for discussion, the main one being is it time for a no fault divorce? We have shared our thoughts and opinions on this topic.

The Family Law Act 1996, which was introduced by the Conservative government, provided the introduction of no-fault divorce in England and Wales.Last year there was a lot of discussion in the media about no-fault divorce, with the Owens case. Mrs Owens petitioned to divorce her husband of 38 years owing to his ‘unreasonable behaviour’, Mr Owens disputed this and the Trial Judge refused her divorce petition. Mrs Owens appealed the decision up to the Supreme Court. They could not help. They would not interfere with the Trial Judge’s findings (although many of us practitioners did) as he was the one to make the important decision and the lower court was applying the law as it has been since 1973.

A no-fault divorce refers to a type of divorce in which the spouse who files for divorce doesn’t have to prove any fault on the part of the other spouse.If you’re looking to divorce, you might be surprised to know that ‘no fault’ divorce doesn’t exist, unless the other person agrees after a period of 2 years’ separation or you have been apart for over 5 years, otherwise you must satisfy the court that your spouse is in the wrong. In order for a divorce to proceed, a party must prove to the Court that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. In order to do so there are currently five legal facts you can use:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Desertion for over 2 years
  • Two years separation with the consent of both parties
  • Five years separation

Consequently, unless you can prove your partner has committed adultery or you have been separated for two years or more your only option for divorce is for you to wholly blame the other’s behaviour for the breakdown of the marriage, even if nobody is at fault and you have both agreed to separate.  This often creates conflict which sets the divorce process back, which can delay the financial aspects of the separation and could have an impact on any child arrangements.A change in the law to allow no fault divorce would help a lot of people who want to divorce amicably and without further drama. As a firm we support the campaign of Resolution, a community of family justice professionals who work with families and individuals to resolve issues in a constructive way. Resolution have been campaigning for this for years.

If you are considering divorce, it is very important to seek legal advice. Many people often listen and talk to friends and family for advice. However, each family is unique and each divorce will be different, as it depends many different factors. At Stuart Q Murphy, our family law solicitors will be able to advise you on dealing with the breakdown of a marriage or civil partnership.

Do you need help or advice when it comes to family law?

 Contact Stuart Q Murphy on 01923 355 755.

22 Feb 2019

Dealing With Emotions In Divorce

We understand that going through divorce is known to be one of the most stressful experiences that can happen in your life. Not only are you separating from your partner, your living arrangements are going to change and there is also the consideration of finances and arrangements for children.

Our experienced family solicitors at Sheppersons understand that facing divorce is a very stressful time and have created some steps in order to reduce the stress.

1) Find a Good Family Solicitor

Finding a good family solicitor as soon as possible will be particularly helpful. They can go through with you at an early stage what your options are which can reduce any uncertainty you have. Our experienced family lawyers approach each case with a supportive, understanding ear, as well as having the breadth of expertise to deliver sound, effective advice on all issues that may come into play, including Property and Business Law.

 2) Reaching a settlement

Whilst ideally you’ll want to reach a settlement quickly, it should also be thorough enough so that every fine detail has been covered. Following your solicitor’s advice is important as they will be able to make a settlement that is more likely to be approved by the court. In the long term this will result in the divorce process ending a lot faster.

3) Consider mediation

As the divorce process goes on, you may find it hard to compromise on some of the more important matters such as finance, property and children. If complications do occur, it will help to get a mediator, they will help you and your partner work towards a solution that works for both of you without the need for the court to make decisions.

4) Make child arrangements a priority

Aim to resolve matters that involve children relatively quickly. If your child/children know where they stand and what is going to happen, it will help reduce their stress. If everyone agrees and has a clear understanding of what the arrangements will be, it will make the situation easier and help to reduce a drawn out court conflict.

5) Focus on long-term fairness

You should reach mutual agreement between both parties with the guidance of a family solicitor as this will be much easier to deal with in the long term. This way makes it more straightforward, allowing both parties to move on peacefully, which will reduce long-term stress.


Do you need help or advice when it comes to divorce?

If you have any questions about divorce or looking for a family solicitors, we’re here to help. Contact Stuart Q Murphy on 01923 355 755.