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“Very few divorce petitions rejected on substantive legal grounds, whether ‘true’ or not”

Interim findings of research into fault-based divorce published

Following the Court of Appeal judgment in Owens v Owens, Professor Liz Trinder of University of Exeter has published interim findings from Finding Fault?, research into the need for reform of divorce law in England and Wales. It represents the first major research study on divorce law since the 1980s.

The key interim findings are as follows:

Professor Trinder said:

"The interim findings reinforce the points made by the President in paras 92-4 of the Owens judgment about how the law operates in practice in undefended cases. However mild, we found almost all (undefended) behaviour petitions will get through as the court can only take petitions on face value. It remains to be seen whether the Owens judgment will have any impact on how behaviour petitions are framed by lawyers or on the threshold operated within the regional divorce centres."

Finding Fault? is funded by the Nuffield Foundation. It is led by Professor Liz Trinder (Exeter University) with Mark Sefton, Bryson Purdon Social Research, OnePlusOne and Kantar Public UK. The study includes:

A final report will be published in Autumn 2017.

For the interim report, click here. For more details of the study, click here.