We have previously written about the types of divorce Grounds that are permitted in England and Wales, which often require careful pleading in the D8 Petition.
Now new research published by the Nuffield Foundation has found that the great majority of defences arise from quarrels about who is ‘at fault’ in contested divorce cases, but in practice this is not something that can be determined by the courts, and most cases are settled, rather than decided by a judge.
In addition, the financial and emotional costs, and discouragement from the family justice system, mean that defending a divorce is not an accessible option for most people. The report concludes that the law is generating disputes and then failing to remedy them, and calls for reform of the divorce law to remove the concept of fault entirely.
The financial, legal and emotional barriers to defence mean that the majority of respondents do not get the chance to put their side of the story to the court. A third of respondents formally record their disagreement with allegations made against them, but only 2% say they intend to defend and less than 1% actually do. Defending a divorce is technically and emotionally demanding. Family lawyers and the courts generally discourage defence, seeing it as expensive, counter-productive and futile. Respondents are therefore unable to prevent being divorced on the basis of allegations that they think are untrue.
We offer a free 20 minute appointment to answer any of your queries on how to avoid a contested divorce and obtain a divorce as efficiently as possible.
By Suezanne King