Are we better off with No Fault Divorce?

February 3rd 2023

No Fault Divorce has been law for nearly a year, and for those who may feel that the old system might not have been so bad after all, the case of W v H (contested divorce) [2022] EWFC 150 (02 November 2022) is a reminder of what used to happen.

The wife petitoned for divorce on the basis of unreasonable behaviour and the husband opposed the application. He ran what lawyers call an unattractive argument that the marriage was not a valid one, whilst opposing the divorce asserting that he had not acted unreasonably. The judge determined that the marriage was valid but did not make findings that he had acted unreasonably. The denial of the marriage did not count for those purposes; the wife’s petition was dismissed.

The husband’s “victory” was an empty one, the court refused to make an order for costs against the wife. The judge was also clear that nothing could prevent the wife from applying under the new regime.

This case does not in any way alter our understanding of the law, but it is a reminder of why change was so desperately needed.