People are lobbying to change the law to introduce no fault divorce. Currently one way of obtaining a divorce is to show unreasonable behaviour.
Couples often have to think up complaints to get a divorce quickly, but it has been pointed out that there is an offence of “coercive control”. This means that if someone tries to manipulate their partner by threatening them, or putting restrictions on their personal or financial freedom, they could be sent to prison.
Could an unchallenged divorce lead to criminal prosecution? I
People going through a divorce often want to get it over with as quickly as possible. The sooner the divorce is finalised, the sooner both parties can move on with their lives.
When “unreasonable behaviour” is cited for a divorce, the petitioning spouse will list what their partner has done which led them to seek the end of their marriage. In some cases this includes allegations of coercive control. More often than not, these allegations will go unchallenged even if the respondent vehemently denies them. This is because doing so will be costly and time-consuming.
The family courts are already struggling to cope with the rise of unrepresented litigants, despite the government’s efforts to steer people towards mediation. There is now a risk that every allegation in divorce proceedings will be ruled on by a judge unless no fault divorce is introduced.