Most of our civil laws have roots in the common law of the United Kingdom, which make sense given that the United States began as a group of British colonies. Of course, in the 230-plus years since the American Revolution ended, the laws of the U.S. and the U.K. have gone on separate courses.
Thus, while every state in this country now allows no-fault divorce, in Britain, a person trying to get divorced must prove that their spouse caused their relationship to fall apart. This can make getting divorced much more difficult. In a fault divorce, you must use evidence to prove that, say, your spouse cheated on you, abandoned you, committed bigamy, or deceived you in some way.
No-fault divorce does away with those arduous requirements that often kept people trapped in unhappy marriages. You simply have to declare that your marriage cannot be repaired, and meet your state’s requirements, which usually include a separation period. In Virginia, you and your spouse must live apart continuously for at least six months before you can file, or 12 months if you have children together.
British divorce law could be changing
While most state legislatures passed no-fault divorce laws decades ago, the U.K.’s Parliament has yet to take similar action. Currently, the law in England and Wales requires a divorcing spouse to prove fault, or else wait out a two-year separation period. Scotland already has no-fault divorce.
However, a bill to introduce no-fault divorce to England and Wales recently passed the House of Commons by a 231-16 vote. This broad support suggests that the time may have come for people in those parts of the U.K. where Parliament controls matrimonial law.
Fair and detailed no-fault divorce
Here in Northern Virginia, if you need a divorce, or if your spouse has already filed, you likely need to resolve matters like property division, child support and child custody. These important matters do not have to turn into an ugly battle, especially if you have experienced legal counsel working for you.