Dickson says no fault divorce reforms should also be introduced to Northern Ireland

Alliance Justice spokesperson Stewart Dickson MLA has said Northern Ireland should also see reforms to its divorce laws after changes to the legislation in England and Wales were promised.

‘No fault’ divorce will be introduced in England and Wales as soon as parliamentary time allows, Justice Secretary David Gauke has stated, meaning an extension of the grounds for divorce, as well as abolishing the ability to contest a divorce.

“Under current legislation, married couples in Northern Ireland can divorce after one year on the grounds of irretrievable breakdown, which has to include at least one reason such as adultery, unreasonable behaviour or a number of years of desertion or separation,” said Mr Dickson.

“However, surveys have shown over a quarter of divorcing couples who asserted blame in their divorce petition admitted the allegations were not true. So while a marriage is entered into voluntarily, it follows it should be dissolved voluntarily as well, without having to attribute blame to anyone if that is the case.

“Alliance’s Party Council recently approved a motion supporting the reform of divorce laws to introduce the grounds of no fault. While England and Wales will soon see exactly that happen, Northern Ireland will be left behind while the ongoing political impasse at the Assembly continues.”