No fault: UK proposes major easing of divorce procedures

The British government is proposing to introduce "no-fault" divorces and make other changes to make it much easier for married couples to divorce.

Justice Secretary David Gauke Saturday began a consultation process to revise laws he said were "out of touch with modern life." New legislation would be needed to make these proposals law.

"When a relationship ends it cannot be right for the law to create or increase conflict between divorcing couples," he said. "That is why we will remove the archaic requirements to allege fault or show evidence of separation, making the process less acrimonious and helping families look to the future."

There will be a 12-week consultation period to gauge public response. Under the proposals, spouses would no longer be able to challenge a divorce application made by their partner.

It would no longer be necessary to prove misconduct such as adultery or to live apart for a certain number of years before a couple could divorce.

The proposals have provoked a generally positive response from divorce lawyers who said it would reduce conflict between couples at a difficult time.

Divorce lawyer Mark Harper said the changes would, if adopted, "save 65,000 or more divorcing couples each year from having to prove fault to get a divorce, which will mean a better and more amicable start to those proceedings."

The changes would apply to heterosexual marriages, same-sex marriages and civil partnerships.