Partner, Surjit Verdi, has said that couples splitting up this New Year should be wary of falling into the trap of the divorce ‘blame game’. She made the comments during what is one of the busiest times in the year for couples divorcing.
In order to divorce, one spouse must petition and demonstrate with one of the following reasons that the marriage has broken down irretrievably:
- unreasonable behaviour;
- two years’ separation if both parties agree;
- two years’ desertion; or
- five years separation, regardless of the agreement of the other party.
Three of these five reasons involve blaming the other party for the breakdown of a marriage, while the other two require couples to wait either two or five years to split formally.
Surjit Verdi said: “Many couples want to get on with their individual lives after the breakdown of their marriage and so do not want to wait either two or five years for a divorce.
“This means that they can feel forced to blame the other party, even when the couple has simply grown apart, which can set an unfortunate tone for the rest of the process. After all, nobody wants to take sole responsibility for the breakdown of their relationship.
“The Government is consulting on no-fault divorce, and this will hopefully lead to a better system. However, couples divorcing this January need to be aware of the effect the divorce blame game can have.”
She said that the best way to mitigate the risk of a fault-based reason for divorce leading to acrimony is for couples to sit down together to discuss the process.
“While it is not always possible for a couple whose marriage has broken down to do so, effective and sensitive communication really is key and can help prevent the process from becoming riddled with acrimony and argument. This is especially important where children are involved,” added Surjit.
“A good solicitor will help divorcing couples minimise conflict and reach as amicable an agreement as possible.”