On most occasions when a spouse decides they want a divorce the husband or wife will decide they don’t want to stand in the others way. Deciding to divorce is not a decision most people take lightly and a sign that there is no going back.
But what happens if a spouse decides they don’t want to end a marriage? Sometimes a husband or wife can decide to withhold their consent to a divorce out of spite or because they can’t deal with the prospect of a permanent split in their relationship.
While getting a divorce is as easy as it has ever been, a tiny proportion (1%) are contested by either the husband or wife leading to one or the other becoming locked into a marriage they don’t want.
One high profile case recently involved a wife who had a brief affair and decided to petition for divorce on the grounds of what she considered to be her husband’s unreasonable behaviour.
Her husband contested the divorce saying he had forgiven her infidelity and he wanted them to stay together so that they could enjoy their 30 years of shared experiences.
The family Court judge agreed with the husband which means his wife could remain married for another five years unless the husband decides to end it.
Divorce law ultimately requires the petitioner to prove fault and simply listing occasions where behaviour might be considered borderline unreasonable can put the petitioner at risk of finding themselves stuck in a marriage for five more years.
If you require advice on divorce, please contact us.
The failure to allow couples of the opposite sex to enter into a civil partnership instead of marriage has caused anger among those who feel their right to an equal partnership has been undermined.
The court of appeal rejected an appeal in February brought by Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan who had attempted to lift the restriction on opposite sex couples entering into civil partnership (s 3(i)(a) of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (the 2004 Act)).
While civil partnerships for same sex couples have been around in England and Wales since 2005 introducing them for opposite sex couples continues to be rejected.
Same sex couples seeking civil partnerships do so often because they reject the patriarchal aspects of marriage and what it has represented through history. Partners feel that not allowing them to enter a civil partnership undermines their human rights.
The issue is particularly contentious when same sex couples are allowed to choose between marriage and civil partnerships even though take up of the latter has been falling.
The failure to recognise civil partnerships means that family law continues to lag behind in reform in this area and those individuals who are prevented from entering a civil partnership have no choice other than to marry if they want to formalise their relationships.