Interesting case on the use of s 1 (2) (b) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA) that has gone to appeal!  The only ground for a divorce is that a marriage has irretrievably broken down and to prove this a spouse must establish one of five facts as laid down in the MCA. In this case s 1(2) (b)- the unreasonable behaviour ground was used.

Whilst it is well known that this is an objective as well as a subjective test to be met legally, it has to be said that the bar can be quite low evidentially when using this ground.

In this case the wife in a very long marriage was seeking divorce relying on this fact. She cited some 27 allegations in her petition but the petition was refused by HHJ Tolson in the first instance. She appealed and  a decision is awaited from the appeal court regarding HHJ Tolson’s original ruling who decided (amongst other things) that the wife’s allegations were “ of the kind to be expected in marriage” and so not of sufficient weight to pass the evidential test.

The prospect of “no fault” divorce in England and Wales has been a subject of debate for decades… and still is- despite years of campaigning from various quarters.

However this  means that the need for expert legal advice when  considering the sad end of a marriage and all the consequences that flow from that is still critically important- not only to ensure that the correct evidence is provided to the court but also to avoid animosity, turmoil and expensive and protracted court proceedings. Early legal advice where possible is essential where problems arise.

PSP Law has a highly expert and accredited team of Solicitors in its Family Department who provide clear, simple and effective advice.

Denise Hoilette
Head of Family Department