How can you have an amicable divorce - whilst blaming your spouse for the breakup?

posted 28 Jan 2011, 00:03 by Miles Hendy   [ updated 28 Jan 2011, 00:06 ]

Unreasonable Behaviour

Pop singer, Cheryl Cole’s divorce from her England footballer husband Ashley would be “clean, swift, amicable and smooth” reported national newspapers earlier this summer. And yet the divorce papers filed on her behalf were said to cite the reason for the break-up of the marriage as being Ashley Cole’s “unreasonable behaviour”.

If Cheryl truly wanted an amicable and smooth divorce, Ashley may have wondered why irreconcilable differences or the like wasn’t cited as the reason for the divorce. Few like to be accused of behaving so badly that their partner cannot ‘reasonably’ be expected to live with them.

Divorce in England & Wales is based on a marriage having “broken down irretrievably”

Following an unhappy marriage most couples just want to bring matters to an end swiftly,  with dignity and respect. Unfortunately it is not possible to obtain a divorce based on “irreconcilable differences” in the divorce courts of England and Wales.

Divorce in England and Wales is based on a marriage having “broken down irretrievably”. But there is a complication. The breakdown must be “proved” by using one of five “facts” laid down by the law. They are adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, two years’ separation with consent and five years’ separation without consent. Three of these methods – desertion, two & five years’ separation – involve a considerable period of delay (at least two years) before a divorce is possible at all. Adultery can only be relied upon if it too has taken place, so a suspicion will not be sufficient.

As the latest published figures from the Office of National Statistics on divorce rates in England and Wales show, unreasonable behaviour is the most common ground for an immediate Divorce. This is not a new revelation but, it is one that has led to many family law practitioners campaigning for the current divorce laws to be reformed. Research on the effects of divorce on children has shown that it is not the divorce,  but the way divorce is dealt with that impacts on children the most. Minimizing emotional harm whether for the adults or children involved is an important priority.

To help them work through the legal, financial and practical issues arising from separation many couples are turning to the dispute resolution process known as Collaborative Family Practice. This process aims to minimise the emotional and financial costs of divorce.

Despite the fault-based divorce process, the approach of Collaborative Family Practice enables divorcing couple to meet their goal of achieving an amicable divorce.

Find out more about Collaborative Family Practice by contacting a specially trained collaborative lawyer near you.