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Jolie v Pitt and the 'No Fault Divorce'

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The news that Angelina Jolie has filed for divorce from her husband, Brad Pitt has caused a media storm with newspapers and gossip magazines eager to report on all the gory details of the reasons for the split of the Hollywood couple.

However, because Angelina brought the divorce proceedings in California she has been able to do so on the basis of their ‘irreconcilable differences’, meaning that despite what may be said in the tabloid press about the breakup, she has not needed to go into any details as to why they are divorcing.

This is in contrast to the situation in England and Wales where if a party wishes to divorce, then unless they have been separated for 2 years or more, they have to blame their spouse for the breakdown of the marriage; citing either ‘adultery’ or ‘unreasonable behaviour’ and providing details.

The historical reasons behind the divorce law being the way it is in England may be laudable and centred around the idea of trying to protect and promote the institution of marriage. However, when a marriage has failed it is not always due to an affair or events that a party would necessarily deem as unreasonable behaviour. Many people say that they have simply ‘fallen out of love’. Even when there is a major event, as possibly may be the case with Brad and Angelina if the press reports are to be believed, parties are often reluctant to cite this feeling that it may cause further animosity.

Although there have been attempts at introducing a ‘no-fault divorce’ into English law in the mid-90s, and more recently with a private members bill in 2015, new legislation does not appear imminent.

To find out more about  divorce and separation and to meet the Chattertons Family Law Team please click the link.

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