It’s one of the most stressful things that can happen in our lives, not only because of the end of a relationship but because of all of the paperwork and legal issues that go hand in hand with it. Who will keep the house (indeed, can anyone afford to keep it)? How will your pension be split? What about the family business?
All of these things and more, can add to the huge strain going through a divorce puts on our daily lives. It’s upheaval like many of us have never felt before.
Plus it’s almost always confrontational. Understandably, emotions run high and tempers are frayed.
But this isn’t the only reason a divorce can cause so much animosity between two people (and, often, those who surround them).
There’s the added factor of compulsory blame.
In England and Wales, there’s no such thing as a no-fault divorce. Whichever one of you starts the divorce proceedings, must prove that your marriage has irretrievably broken down by establishing one of these five facts:
In one of our previous articles , we talked about a case involving a woman who was refused a divorce because she didn’t manage to establish unreasonable behaviour. In this day and age, many have argued that it is ridiculous that this woman, who seemed to clearly believe her relationship with her husband was at an end (she took her case to the Court of Appeal), was not granted a divorce. At this point, it is worth noting, that contested divorces are quite rare.
In your divorce petition, you must give reasons why you want a divorce. This could be anything from your other half playing too much golf or drinking too much, to them always being at work. You must point the finger of blame.
In a recent speech by Baroness Deech, where she proposed a Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill, she talked about cleaning up the divorce process. As part of this, prenuptial agreements would be legally binding, so people could be more certain about how they would split their assets, should they ever get a divorce.
This could potentially reduce some of the problems during divorce negotiations. However, a prenuptial agreement doesn’t include all of the couple’s assets that they have accrued during their marriage. It doesn’t seem realistic to suggest a prenuptial agreement should be changed every time a new asset is acquired, for example.
Although this proposed Bill was definitely a step in the right direction, many would say that it didn’t go far enough.
The issue is really much deeper rooted in the whole process. The problem is that blame creates animosity and until there is a no fault divorce where blame does not need to be apportioned, confrontation between divorcing couples is going to be the norm.
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