The many layers of divorce, individually, prove challenging. Coming to terms with your marriage being over is heart-wrenching—and if you have kids, doubly so. Then add to it the complexities of the legal process, and divorce becomes extremely taxing.
For people in England and Wales, there’s hope that divorce laws will see their first change in 50 years. Until now, fault-based divorce was the only option. You have to prove one party’s fault in the ending of the marriage, and if you can’t, you have to remain together for five years before being granted a divorce. A far cry from the much more preferred and mutually respectful conscious uncoupling that Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin famously put on the map.
In the US divorce laws differ from state to state, but for the most part, you have a few more options than our friends across the pond. In the states, there are no-fault, fault-based, and least-fault grounds for divorce. Allowing no-fault divorce eases up the added stress of an already heartbreaking process.
David Gauke, the justice secretary, shared reasoning for revising these laws in England and Wales with The Guardian, saying, “Marriage will always be one of our most sacred institutions, but when a relationship ends it cannot be right for the law to create or increase conflict between divorcing couples.”
Some of the proposals include removing the requirement that you show evidence of a spouse’s conduct in order to file for a divorce, as well as not having to prove that you’ve already been living apart. The proposals also suggest “keeping the sole ground for divorce as the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage.”
Recovering from a broken marriage is hard enough, but being forced to point fingers in order to get out of it complicates it more than it has to be. Once you know your marriage is over, you want to spend time rebuilding and healing and looking forward. There’s promise now that divorcing couples in England and Wales will be able to do just that, without having to play the blame game until it’s “legally” over.