Jo Johnson calls for ‘no fault divorces’ to be introduced.

Local Family Solicitor Jo Johnson is calling for no fault divorces to be introduced after the recent decision in the case of Owens v Owens where the wife was refused a divorce after failing to satisfy the court that her husband had behaved unreasonably in their marriage.

“Mrs Owen has since filed an appeal to the Supreme Court which has still to be heard but, in the meantime, solicitors are reporting an increase in divorce petitions containing more inflammatory allegations in an effort to ensure that the divorce is granted following this recent decision.”

Jo Johnson is a member of the Resolution group of family lawyers who are committed to the promotion of non-confrontational divorces.

“Presently, the only ground for divorce is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. This must be proved in a number different ways but it is not possible for a couple to get a divorce without blame unless they have been separated for at least two years. Having to lay blame affects a couple’s ability to work together to deal with other aspects of their separation such as agreeing the arrangements for their children and reaching a financial settlement. This needs to be rectified to allow couples to deal with the breakdown of their marriage with dignity.

Jo is also a Collaborative Lawyer and she is trained to assist couples wishing to resolve their case amicably to reach an agreement together.  The process, which involves a number of face to face meetings, allows the parties, amongst other things, to agree who divorces who and on what basis.

Traditionally people often perceive divorce as a fight.  If parents are able to work together, without blaming the other, it sends a good message to their children and it can teach them that it is possible to separate without acrimony.

Sorting out the division of assets and agreeing the arrangements for the children are always the hardest aspects of ending any marriage.  If you can reduce the tension by eliminating the question of who is to blame for the breakdown it allows couples to focus on the more important issues which ultimately saves costs.

Jo added: “When preparing the Statement of Case for an unreasonable behaviour petition, I have always been very careful to ensure that the particulars alleged by the Petitioner are kept as mild as possible so as not to further inflame the situation.  I consider how the other party will feel when they read the allegations of unreasonable behaviour.

“Regrettably, we are now seeing a return to the days where divorce was much more acrimonious and this has been fueled by the recent Owen decision.

“It can be stopped if the Government supports Resolution’s call for no-fault divorce. Marriage break down sadly happens often and divorce is never easy. We should not be inflaming an already difficult situation by encouraging couples to sling as much mud as possible in order to obtain a divorce.”

An experienced family lawyer, Jo Johnson, pictured, founded Jo Johnson Family Law Limited in 2015 and she will soon be celebrating her second anniversary in business.

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