Georgia L Gilholy is a reporter for but writes in a personal capacity.

As of this Wednesday, 6 April, couples in England and Wales may apply for a “no-fault” divorce.

Where once “unreasonable behaviour” such as abandonment or adultery, or a two to five-year separation, was required to end a marriage, most Brits can now terminate a hypothetically lifelong contract after a minimum of six months.

Some are already touting this as a victory for the vulnerable and of course, both women and men being victimised by their spouses deserve an efficient escape route.

But this does not mean that a “no-fault” divorce provides that. Under this new framework, spouses who have suffered abuse lose their ability to air unjust treatment by their husband or wife, should they be served “no-fault” divorce papers.

While “no-fault” campaigners complain that the fault-based system was “vindictive” in its requirements, what if legitimate grievances do need to be aired?

It is now completely legal to swiftly abandon a marriage without citing any grievance. This permission could easily be used by abusive partners as a psychological weapon.

In particular, this puts people vulnerable due to health issues or finances at heightened risk, should they be subject to a unilateral divorce. The obvious example of this is when one half of a marriage-overwhelmingly the wife- has given up employment to raise children.

This is not progress. It is denigrating marriage to a form of government-regulated cohabitation, leaving spouses with less legal protection in their own homes than tenants in rented accommodation.

It is hardly surprising that feminist campaign group the National Organisation for Women protested no-fault divorce in New York because it permitted an “at fault” party to obtain a marital dissolution in which “alimony, maintenance [and] property division” would be decided by a judge, without considering “the facts, behaviour and circumstances that led to the break-up of the marriage”.

Indeed, a Richmond School of Law review into the US’ “no-fault” system concluded that the system “has failed”, producing both a higher divorce rate and fewer safeguards for dependent women and children.

Those celebrating this legal watershed also presume that claiming “fault” in divorce proceedings is an unnecessary source of conflict between separated couples. In reality, the bulk of divorces will involve conflict because the breaching of such an intimate commitment – especially when children are involved – suggests two people have inherently conflicting or diverging priorities.

Moreover, is anyone truly convinced that “no-fault” legal proceedings will lessen the pain of divorce? Whether official reasons are cited for marital breakdown or not, the decoupling of two intertwined lives will naturally prompt disagreement and regret.

Campaigners on the left and “libertarian” right alike are also too eager to claim that the previous requirement for fault slams an unjust stigma onto divorce. But the truth is that we need more divorce stigma, not less.

Like so many cultural “innovations” of the past half-century, no-fault divorce unfairly places the desires of adults above children. While the Government claims these changes will help improve children’s wellbeing, reducing the disincentives to end marriages will do precisely the opposite.

Fractured families are more likely to deal with poverty, alongside mental and physical health issues. A 1994 study found that children with separated parents had more self-esteem issues than those whose parents sometimes argued, but remained a couple. It noted that: “separation and divorce do not necessarily reduce damaging conflict” and, “that as a generality the reverse may be true.”

Not to mention the fact that family breakdown already costs the British taxpayer an estimated £51 billion per year.

The new system will also reduce the minimum time frame between the start of proceedings and a conditional divorce application to 20 weeks.

Yet since records on the matter began in 2003, around ten per cent of couples who begin divorce proceedings do not complete them in any given year. Out of parents who said they were unhappy after the birth of their first child, together, over two-thirds report being happy a decade later, with 27 per cent admitting to being “extremely happy”.

While divorce rates remain sadly high, that tens of thousands of marriages remain intact during this time frame is surely a reason to keep a longer period of reflection in place?

Even putting aside this list of financial and moral defects, it is clear that this new system is at odds with public opinion. According to polling done before the “no-fault” laws were proposed in 2020, seven Brits in ten were in favour of maintaining fault grounds, while three in five agreed that “divorce is too easy”.

Like the Bolshevik revolutionaries who first introduced “no-fault” divorce upon the birth of the USSR, our government has cut a great road through our law. Who knows what dangers to our social fabric will henceforth unravel?