If you ask someone to name a legal contract that is binding for life, they might suggest life insurance, equity release or perhaps a pension annuity – but as a society, we tend not to view marriage as a legal arrangement, instead preferring to take a more romantic view of it.
But when a marriage breaks down, the legal contract becomes a significant part of dealing with the divorce, and it can be difficult to obtain a decree absolute – legally ending the marriage commitment – without one party taking the blame for the separation.
The options under UK law include:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Separation, either 2 years with consent or 5 years without
How to avoid the blame game
While efforts are ongoing to introduce an easier form of no-fault divorce in the UK, at present you are limited to only the above options, so it’s crucial that you choose the correct route to separate if you want things to remain amicable – and that’s where mediators can help.
Depending on your recent living circumstances, divorce, through Separation may be a consideration, but if one party objects, the two-year time frame will increase to five years, so it’s sensible to let a mediator help you to keep things moving along amicably to avoid this, and to talk through the various options with you.
If Separation is not an option, a mediator can help you to look at the the other routes which, although you must officially apportion blame to one party, can allow you to separate in as little as three to six months, and to keep as much hostility out of the picture as possible.
Your mediator can help you to overcome any doubts and disagreements about doing this – for example, any future impact on sharing care of your children if one party agrees to a claim of unreasonable behaviour – so that all involved in the process can move on quickly with the minimum of stress, and retain as much dignity in divorce as possible.
To find out more about the best ways to divorce with minimal blame under the current legal system in England and Wales, speak to a mediator as soon as possible so that you have all of the relevant information available to you from the outset of your divorce.