Embracing No-Fault Divorce: A Shift in Legal Dynamics

The divorce process has now changed for the better, and no fault divorce replaced the old system in April 2022. Essentially, what this means is that no fault divorce removes the requirement to prove evidence of either “conduct” or “separation”. All that is now required in the divorce application is to provide a statement that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

Prior to 6th April 2022, if you wanted to divorce your spouse you would have to show not only that the marriage had irretrievably broken down, but you had to have been separated for a minimum of two years, or you would blame your spouse for the breakdown of the marriage. This would include unreasonable behaviour, adultery and desertion.

Fostering Cooperation: The End of the “Blame Game”

This has now changed for the better, and is something that all specialist family lawyers, particularly us collaborative lawyers, welcome. The “blame game” has now gone.

Even though the process is straightforward, it is strongly recommended that legal advice is obtained. Even though you can deal with the divorce yourself online without even speaking to a solicitor, without obtaining proper legal advice, this could cause possible financial complications to your disadvantage at a later date. For example, once you are divorced, this will change your legal status and can affect things like your tax position and pension entitlement. You should take specialist advice from lawyers who can assist in such matters which would include members of the Collaborative Law Group.

There is also the ability for both you and your spouse to make a joint application for a divorce. This was previously unavailable.

Some people would say that the only downside to the new procedure is that divorces tend to take longer. Where it was possible for there to be a divorce under the old regime in maybe four to five months, there is a minimum now of six months to obtain a divorce, and sometimes this can take considerably longer. In the normal course of events, the application is made either by paper application or online, and there would be no need for anyone to appear in court.

The change in the law is welcomed by us lawyers here in the Collaborative Law Group. The new process will hopefully reduce acrimony and help spouses to deal with the end of their marriage in an amicable and constructive way.

Jonathan Diamond is a senior family lawyer at F Barnes Solicitors Limited based in Romford, Gidea Park, and Collier Row.

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