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Divorce: Don’t look back in anger

‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’

Liam Gallagher and Nicole Appleton appeared at the Central Family Court this week in an attempt to reach a financial resolution following the bitter breakdown of their marriage in 2013. As can be expected, they were greeted with a barrage of journalists and paparazzi frantically seeking to extract the nitty gritty detail surrounding their marital dispute.

We have been left in the dark about the financial proceedings, but what is clear (from several wholly reliable tabloid sources!) is the fact Liam and Nicola have had a very turbulent divorce process. The media has been keen to focus on the sordid allegations of betrayal, multiple allegations of adultery and ultimately, who should take the blame!

This brings about the wider issues of whether the obligation for a party to prove ‘fault’ in divorce proceedings is actually more cumbersome and damaging to all involved.  Currently, the law stipulates that to be entitled to a divorce, the parties must be able to demonstrate that their marriage has ‘irretrievably broken down’ and in order to prove this, must rely on 1 of 5 prescribed facts in support,  namely:

  • Adultery
  • Behaviour
  • Desertion for 2 years or more
  • Separation for 2 years or more with the other person’s consent
  • 5 years separation without the other person’s consent
Naturally, where parties have reach the mutual decision to divorce, having to pigeon hole a relationship breakdown into one of these facts is somewhat distressing. Is it time to follow the trend of other jurisdictions and permit divorce by consent?

Sir James Munby, president of the High Court Family Division, and one of the most senior family judge’s in England and Wales is one of several advocates in support of ‘no fault divorce’ being introduced in the UK stating that he considers that rather than departing from the sanctity of marriage it will simply “add a bit of intellectual honesty”

Maguire Family Law recognises that family matters need to be handled with the upmost sensitivity and respect and therefore, in the vast majority of cases,  would agree that there are certainly benefits involved in initiating proceedings without a focus on who is as ‘fault’. The whole concept of a fault and blame can cause fractures between even the most amicable of couples who have reached the sad, but mutual conclusion that their marriage has broken down.  Maguire Family Law prides itself in promoting constructive resolution and each solicitor at the firm is committed to a non-confrontational approach to family matters.

So, although the concept of fault has featured a great deal in the bitter break up between Liam and Nicole, we can only speculate about the outcome if these pair had been able to rely on a divorce by consent as oppose to becoming embroiled in a battle of blame. If this couple, like so many others, had been able to initiate proceedings without the initial allegations of who is at fault, then it may have led to a more amicable, streamlined and dignified resolution.  Perhaps Liam should take a leaf out of his own book and ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ and heed the sound advice from his dear friend Sir Paul ‘to give peace a chance’.

For specialist advice on any family law related issue contact Maguire Family Law by email: james.maguire@family-law.co.uk or telephone:

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