Justice Secretary David Gauke announced that no-fault divorces are to become law in the UK.
At present, a couple must be married for a year and a day before they can apply for divorce. If after this time they choose to divorce, either partner can file for it, but only if certain conditions are met. Either the marriage must be past repair due to adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion or having lived separately for two or more years – if both parties agree – or the couple must agree to live apart for more than five years.
This has been the law in England and Wales since 1973.
There have been several calls to modernise divorce law in England and Wales.
No-fault divorce was first introduced by the Family Law Act 1996, but its provisions were later deemed unworkable and it was repealed. It has been widely supported by prominent members of the judiciary, lawyers and relationship charities.
The legislative update means partners will no longer be able to refuse a divorce by not consenting to the two-year separation clause effectively ending occurrences of people being trapped in loveless marriages.