Trapped in an unhappy marriage, even if one of you hasn't done anything wrong?

Couple with heads in their hands

Trapped in an unhappy marriage, even where one of you hasn’t really done anything wrong? Some relationships do simply run their course.

Unfortunately, we still do not have a ‘no fault’ divorce option in this country, despite calls from family practitioners for many years for the law to be changed by Parliament. This leaves couples in the invidious position of alleging ‘unreasonable behaviour’ in their divorce petition. This has been highlighted in the recent Court of Appeal case of Owen v Owen, where Mrs Owen was forced to remain married to Mr Owen, as the Court decided that she couldn’t show that his behaviour was sufficiently unreasonable. 

Alleging unreasonable behaviour may, of course, still be entirely appropriate in lots of cases, but what if you don’t wish to go down the ‘blame’ route?

This is where skilled family solicitors can really help. Our approach in such situations is to try to agree the content of the divorce petition with the other party and their solicitor. We look to negotiate palatable reasons for you both to show to the Judge that the marriage has broken down, but not so as to inflame a probably already delicate set of circumstances.

‘Open’ letters can also be exchanged between your solicitors, so that the file shows that the reasons are not necessarily accepted and reserving the right to defend those allegations, if they are relied upon against you in, for example, related financial or children proceedings. The divorce papers can then be signed by you both without fear of prejudice, taking the sting out of any blame and, importantly, avoiding the need for a costly court attendance.

For a modern, creative and constructive approach to divorce proceedings, arrange an appointment with one of our specialist divorce lawyers.

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