Michael Gove and Sarah Vine separate after 20 years of marriage

Cabinet Office Minister, Michael Gove and his wife, Sarah Vine have recently announced their agreement to separate and are said to be in the latter stages of finalising their divorce.  It is reported that it is an amicable separation and the couple have drifted apart.

For a couple intending to divorce in England and Wales, either party can currently file for divorce on the ground that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.   The Court cannot make a finding of irretrievable breakdown unless the petitioner effectively blames the other party for the breakdown of the marriage by reason of adultery or unreasonable behaviour, or waits for a period of two years after the separation if the other party consents, or five years if the other party does not.

It may be the case that couples who wish to divorce have grown apart or fallen out of love and do not wish to assert blame.  The current law can cause unnecessary hostility at a time when most individuals wish to focus on resolving the issues, including living and contact arrangements for children and / or financial arrangements that have arisen as a result of the breakdown of the marriage.

Thankfully, the law is set to be drastically reformed with the concept of ‘no-fault divorce’ to be introduced in April 2022.   The proposed changes will include a new requirement to provide a statement that the marriage has broken down irretrievably without having to rely on adultery or unreasonable behaviour or having to wait for the separation requirements to be met.  It is hoped that this much needed change will promote a conciliatory approach to divorce from the outset and avoid unnecessary hostility.

For individuals considering a separation or divorce, it is important to obtain early legal advice.  Each case will be different and at Taylor Walton Solicitors we can provide specialist tailored advice depending upon the specific circumstances of your matter.

If you require advice and assistance regarding a potential divorce or separation, please contact; Emily Woodhouse, Solicitor (emily.woodhouse@taylorwalton.co.uk), or Will Mercer, Partner (william.mercer@taylorwalton.co.uk) or by phone on 01727 845245.