Court of Appeal Rejects Divorce Appeal
Peter Martin, the Head of our Family Law Department discusses a recent Divorce Appeal.
The law relating to divorce in England and Wales has over the last 40 years remained virtually unchanged. This means that a person bringing the divorce must establish that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. This often involves apportioning the blame for the breakdown of the marriage upon their husband or wife.
This week saw the reported case of a wife who had cited unreasonable behaviour as the reason why her marriage had broken down. The husband defended the proceedings and the Judge agreed with the husband that the allegations were "flimsy" and "exaggerated". Rather unusually, the judge refused to grant the divorce and the wife appealed (probably at great expense) to the Court of Appeal. The appeal was refused and therefore the parties remain married.
For many years there has been pressure of successive Governments to amend the divorce laws to allow for parties to petition on a "no fault" basis. In this same week, the Government has announced that there are no plans to reform the divorce laws despite the pressure to do so.
Over the years, public attitudes have changed and the element of blame within the allegations of unreasonable behaviour have often been watered down, probably, in an effort to become more conciliatory towards the divorce process. Nevertheless, in each divorce case, a judge is required to certify that the legal requirements have been met and that the court is entitled therefore to grant the divorce.
It would seem that perhaps now, more than ever, a carefully worded divorce petition is essential to avoid it from being rejected.
If you need assistance with a Divorce case, or any other family matter, please do not hesitate to contact our Family Law Team on 024 7663 2121 or use our online contact form.