Divorce has now been experienced directly or indirectly in most households. The majority experience of the process is a negative one despite the outcome being the desired goal. It is the governments intentions to try and turn this around through alternative forms of Dispute Resolution.
From my perspective as a Lawyer mediator this is music to my ears. However the difficulty at this stage with this being a need for a change of mindset and increased awareness of the alternative options available to separating couples. The question being until we have a no fault divorce in our jurisdiction there will always be an element of blame to be alleged and is there therefore a need to change the Divorce Laws to help this shift
There is one ground for a divorce and that is the marriage has irretrievably broken down. However to substantiate this for the divorce you have to show a reason for the breakdown. You must rely on one of five reasons as follows
2. Unreasonable behaviour
3. Desertion for a period of two years
4. Separation for a period of two years ad the other party consent to the divorce.
5 separation for Period of five years.
The first two are often referred to as the “quickie Divorce”. Adultery is often the most emotive reason for a divorce and is often discouraged given the difficulties that can follow if the Respondent fails to admit the adultery.
Interestingly recent studies have revealed that the higher proportion of Divorce Petitions are sought on the basis of unreasonable conduct. In 2013 so far unreasonable conduct is cited in 47% of divorces and only 15% adultery.
One hopes that the sea change from the 1970’s when 29% of divorce petitions were cited on the basis of adultery and 28% on unreasonable conduct is evidence in itself that mindsets can change to facilitate the separation process and thus divorcing couples will consider engaging in alternative forms of dispute resolution as a means of addressing all of their issues. However if we could shift further to a no fault divorce could this change further?