It used to be considered that marriage was for life and generally people do not marry with the expectation of divorcing, however the reality is that the divorce rates have steadily increased in the UK since divorce became readily available.
The statistics show that in 1970 22% of marriages had ended by the 15thwedding anniversary, that rate rose to 33% in 1995 and has remained broadly similar since 2000.
Divorce hasn’t always been easily available and prior to 1857 divorce proceedings were restricted to the very wealthy as it required a complex annulment process or a private bill leading to an Act of Parliament.
The Matrimonial Causes Act 1857 made divorce easier, however there were discrepancies between the sexes and whilst a husband could petition for divorce on the grounds that his wife had committed adultery a wife would have to prove adultery as well as incest, cruelty, bigamy, desertion, or on cruelty alone.
In 1937 a new Act was pronounced which allowed woman to petition for divorce on the same grounds as men.
The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 provided a marriage had to have last for three years before a divorce could be applied for, a further Act in 1984 reduced this to one year.
Divorce is currently allowed on the ground that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 specifies that the marriage may be found to have irretrievably broken down if one of the following is established:
· Unreasonable behaviour
· Desertion (two years)
· Separation, agreed divorce (two years)
· Separation, contested divorce (five years)
There is a campaign by Resolution and supported by us here at Rees Pagefor the Government to introduce a no fault divorce.
Many other countries allow divorce on this basis, for example in Australia a divorce can be obtained on the basis of 12 months separation; there are no other grounds available.
Divorce can be a tricky, challenging and emotional time and having to rely on the above grounds of divorce can add to the heartache. Here at Rees Page Solicitors we aim to guide you through the process as quickly and pain free as possible.
Contact us on 01902 577777 and speak to Parv or Pat to make a convenient and free appointment to discuss your next steps.