Who is to blame for our divorce?

To mark Resolution Good Divorce Week our family specialist Emma Bundy will be answering your burning divorce queries.

Mrs Anonymous asked us…

“My husband said that one of us has to be blamed if we want a divorce but I think that we are both equally responsible. Does one of us really have to be to blame?”

Emma Bundy said…

emmaThis is a question that I hear on a regular basis. It is quite common for clients to feel that they would both have reasons for divorce or that things just simply aren’t working and therefore neither party is to blame. This is often a tricky situation for our clients.

Unfortunately, unless you have been separated for two years or more, the only reasons which you can rely upon for a divorce would be adultery or unreasonable behaviour, both of which are essentially fault based reasons.

As a member of Resolution, we encourage our clients to try and deal with issues as amicably as possible in order to avoid unnecessary or further confrontation and conflict. Naturally, directing blame and setting out reasons as to why you have found your partner’s behaviour ‘intolerable’ does not help matters. Resolution are currently in the process of campaigning to try and get rid of the fault based system that we are currently faced with. In the meantime however, we must deal with the legislation is it stands.

Unreasonable behaviour means that details of the behaviour must be set out within the divorce petition. At Carr & Co, we help clients to agree particulars with their ex-partner that are as non-contentious as possible. We will ensure that the reasons are sufficient enough to get over the initial hurdle whilst being as mild and non-antagonistic as possible. To do this, we feel that it is important for us to communicate with your ex-spouse in a manner which helps them to understand the process and cooperate and engage with us in order to ensure that matters progress smoothly for both of you.

However, if this still doesn’t appeal to you, you could consider a Separation Agreement instead. This document would record the agreements between you both in respect of finances, children and prospective future divorce. This would then allow you to deal with the outstanding issues and to move on as a family whilst you wait until you have been separated for two years or more. Some clients prefer this option as it means that no details need to be provided for the divorce petition other than the date of separation.

If you would like further help and advice, please feel free to contact us.