Couples are creating 'pretend' affairs to quicken divorce proceedings, says Northampton law firm

Simon Leach, of Family Law Group.
Simon Leach, of Family Law Group.

Spouses are using affairs to quicken divorce proceedings, a Northampton law firm says in response to new research calling for a law overhaul.

A recent report by the Nuffield Foundation has found that couples are creating "pretend" affairs to seperate quicker as it does not require any discretion on behalf of the judge dealing with the divorce.

Northampton-based Family Law Group said the new report issued by the leading research body found a significant lack of truth in divorce petitions, which pulls into question they say questions whether it is now time for a "no-fault" divorce system.

The report found that only three in 10 respondents in "fault-based" divorces actually cited reasons that closely matched the true reasons for separating.

“This is further proof that the current divorce system needs looking at and we have to accept that no-fault divorce is a sensible step," said Simon Leach, of Family Law Group.

"The report stated that not only can adultery be falsely claimed and admitted, but dates of separation may also be altered to shorten waiting times in divorce cases.

“The fact is fault-based divorces can cause delays in divorce cases and often have the adverse effect of creating added conflict between parties whose relationship is over,” he added.

“Countries like Spain and the United States have for many years allowed couples to legally part without blame, but here in the UK we still have an out-dated system,” Simon added.

A Private Members Bill introduced in 2015 seeking no-fault divorce failed, and a Court of Appeal decision recently released has highlighted the desperate need for the introduction of no-fault divorce in England & Wales.

However, the Government has confirmed that there are no plans to further debate the subject.

Simon concluded that there really is ample evidence of the damage that acrimonious divorces can do when the law requires separating couples to start that process by attributing blame for the relationship breakdown.

He said: “It really is time to end the blame game by introducing no-fault divorce.”

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