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Divorcing Couples Admit to ‘Exaggerating’ Foul Play

Divorcing Couples Admit to ‘Exaggerating’ Foul Play

Thousands of divorced couples are driven to ‘exaggerate’ faults in their marriage to make sure the family court approve their split, a revealing new study has found.

Many couples feel they are stuck between a rock and a hard place, they want to split on good terms but have to find fault in order to get a divorce.

Three in 10 bent the truth about adultery, unreasonable behaviour or the length of separation to guarantee their divorce petition wouldn’t get blocked under the current system, which requires couples to find fault.

More than a third said being forced to assign blame added to their anguish, with 42 per cent claiming it also upset their children.  

And more than one in four claimed the process left them with bitter feelings towards their ex, dashing their hopes of keeping the break-up amicable.

Divorce law was thrown into the spotlight recently with the case of Tini Owens who wants to end her 40-year marriage to husband Hugh.

His behaviour, while deemed unreasonable by his wife, was not enough to convince the Supreme Court, however, but prompted calls for a radical overhaul of the law.

Of more than 1,000 divorced Brits surveyed, 80 per cent said they would have opted for a ‘no-fault’ divorce if the law allowed.

Slater and Gordon, the law firm behind the research, say it would save many couples from feeling they had to bend the truth about the breakdown of their marriage.

Family lawyer, Joanne Green, said: “Many couples feel they are stuck between a rock and a hard place, they want to split on good terms but have to find fault in order to get a divorce.

“The Tini Owens case has highlighted how divorce law just hasn’t kept up with the times. Clearly, many couples would prefer an amicable, no fault split, but far from helping that happen the current process seems to inflame the situation and incites couples to enter into a blame game.

“It causes issues for the individuals involved and sadly, it also seems that it causes distress to the children stuck in the middle.

“It’s also important to point out that not being truthful in a court document is a serious issue and if people are found to have done so, they could be liable to serious consequences.”

Currently couples can only obtain a divorce if they cite one of the following reasons; unreasonable behaviour, adultery, desertion or if they’ve been separated for more than two years with the consent of either parties, or five years without.

Being legally forced to declare issues within their marriage made 14 percent exaggerate about adultery and 13 percent skewed the length of their separation.

Sixty per cent of those who admitted exaggerating, blamed ‘unreasonable behaviour’ including nearly a quarter accusing their partner of drinking too much, picking arguments or lack of respect and controlling behaviour.

After accepting that they would be the one to take the blame for the exaggerated issues, 15 percent said they ‘regretted’ it.

When asked the real reasons behind the breakdown of their marriage, 41 percent of the 1,011 divorcees said they had simply fallen out of love.

Joanne Green, from Slater and Gordon, added: “Although there are many varied reasons for a marriage breakdown, if over 40 percent of those surveyed said they had simply fallen out of love, the law should reflect that and give the option of a no-fault divorce.

“The end of a relationship is a difficult time under the best of circumstances without the pressure of having to attribute blame where there simply may not be any.

“It surely must be important to make this process as a painless as possible for all involved.”

Of all of the divorcees, 89 percent agreed that having the option of a no-fault divorce could save couples money and many felt it would also would have been resolved quicker.

Although, the vast majority of those surveyed agreed that a no-fault divorce should be allowed legally, 72 percent said the option may make couples more blasé about getting a divorce.

37 percent of the divorcees wished that they still had this time with their partner but they had not got married.

Although the same rules apply when legally trying to end their partnership, 85 percent of all divorcees felt that straight couples should be able to enter into a civil partnership.