Separation, Divorce & Annulment

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SEPARATION, DIVORCE & ANNULMENT

Introduction
When two people are in a relationship they are usually in it forever. Unfortunately, it isn’t always the case and as you will learn in this unit, there are many things that could potentially be blamed for the breakdown of such relationships. This topic takes you into the world of divorce which is never an easy thing for any couple and if there are children involved (and there usually are); it makes the experience even worse. Some couples split amicably while for others the parting can drag on in what could seem like forever where the accusations and blame is often hurled from one party to another. In many countries, there has been a shift towards ‘no fault’ divorce. A no fault divorce is divorce in which the dissolution of a marriage does not require fault of either party to be shown, or the requirement of any evidentiary proceedings to take place. So either party may request a divorce despite the objections of the other party. No fault divorce systems are where the law provides for only one ground for divorce – this is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably (see example, s30(1) Family Law
Act, Fiji).
This does not necessarily mean that both parties to the marriage were equally blameless for the breakdown in the relationship but it does recognise that both may have contributed to that breakdown and that blame and accusation can aggravate what is likely to already be an unhappy and often bitter situation.
Accusations and recriminations do not help this and may be particularly damaging for any children of the marriage, who, despite whatever the feelings of their parents, still need to have a mother and father. While marriage remains an important cornerstone for the stability of society and social ordering, the law allows divorce and provides a framework both for that divorce and for the consequences of that change of status especially as regards any children of the marriage and any

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