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Fault based divorce petitions and false allegations

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Latest research has revealed that fault-based divorce petitions are causing over a quarter of divorcees to make false allegations.
The fault-based nature of divorce in England & Wales requires one person to accuse the other of adultery or unreasonable behaviour to have their divorce granted within two years of marriage breakdown. This is driving over a quarter (27%) of divorcing couples to make false allegations to the court, according to new research from family law organisation Resolution. Resolution has over 5,000 family lawyers, mediators and other family professionals in England who work to minimise conflict in divorce and separation.

No-fault divorce is the subject of a Ten Minute Motion being debated in the House of Commons, brought by Conservative MP Richard Bacon and supported by Resolution.


Resolution’s research, carried out by YouGov, found that:

  • 52% of divorce petitions were fault-based alleging either unreasonable behaviour or adultery
  • 27% of divorcing couples who asserted blame in a divorce petition admitted the allegation of fault was not true, but was the easiest option
"Working with families in the Essex area we see every day the problems caused by fault-based divorce, which can have knock on repercussions for families that last for many years. We fully support Richard Bacon’s Ten Minute Motion and hope that our local MPs will support the introduction of a no fault divorce which will have a positive impact on hundreds of families in the area." say Resolution.

“It is not about making divorce easier. It is about making it easier for people to resolve their issues on separation and move on with their lives after divorce. As our research findings show, the current system is causing couples to make false allegations in court in order to have their divorce finalised within a reasonable time.”

"Children can also suffer during this period, with no formal resolution of their parents’ financial and living arrangements. So people resort to agreeing to make an untrue allegation in court of adultery or unreasonable behaviour, in order to move on with their lives. Fault-based petitions are outdated and unfair and the law is in urgent need of reform."

Resolution, of which all the family lawyers at Pinney Talfourd are members of, has campaigned for many years for the introduction of no-fault divorce, which was provided for in the Family Law Act 1996 but never enacted.

Call 01708 229 444 or email our This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if this issue affects you or you want to discuss your separation. Alternatively click here to find out more about our family law services.


This article was written by Sue Nash, a Chartered Legal Executive in our Family Law Department at Pinney Talfourd Solicitors. This article is only intended to provide a general summary and does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as at November 2015. 


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