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Couples in England and Wales Lie About Adultery to Get Divorced

Carlsbad, CA – There’s a unique phenomenon occurring among many divorcing couples in England and Wales. People are lying about adultery to speed up the divorce process.

Researchers fear that although doing so may get them to single status faster, it comes at a mental cost for the couples and their children, according to a Yahoo News article.

This problem doesn’t occur in California because it has been a no-fault state since then-Gov. Ronald Reagan signed it into law in 1970. Many states followed with similar laws in the 1970s and 1980s. For years, New York was the only hold-out. But that changed in 2010 when Gov. David Peterson signed no-fault divorce into law.

Getting a divorce in England or Wales takes time – at least two years, and that’s if both spouses agree. It takes five years to divorce if one person disagrees.

Lie About Adultery to Get Divorced
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If separating couples want to get divorced faster and both parties consent, one person must submit a petition detailing how the other is at fault. A spouse who admits to adultery or “unreasonable behavior” is all it takes for a quicker divorce to be granted. But only the “innocent party” can use adultery as a ground for divorce.

Because of this, divorce law in England and Wales incentivizes people to lie about unreasonable behavior or adultery just to end their marriage, according to The Nuffield Foundation, which funded the research. These claims can’t be investigated by the court or easily rebutted by the responding party, which leads to unnecessary conflict and a system that is inherently unfair.

“In 2015, 60 percent of English and Welsh divorces were granted on adultery or behavior, compared to Scotland where the figure was 6 percent,” according to Yahoo News.

The research found that in addition to falsely claiming or admitting to adultery, couples also fib about dates of separation to shorten wait times in two- and five-year separation cases, according to The Law Society Gazette.

Resolution is a family justice organization that has campaigned for no-fault divorce to be introduced in England and Wales.

“Fault-based divorces don’t reflect the reality of relationship breakdown for the majority of couples and do nothing to help them deal constructively with the consequences,” Nigel Shepherd, Resolution’s chair, told The Gazette. “Indeed they often have the adverse effect of inciting additional conflict between separating partners.”

The research found that 62 percent of petitioners and 78 percent of respondents said that using fault had made the process more bitter, according to The Nuffield Foundation. Of those who participated in the research, 21 percent of fault-respondents said fault had made it more difficult to sort out arrangements for children, and 31 percent of fault-respondents thought fault made sorting out finances more difficult.

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