Ending the blame game with UK ‘no fault’ divorce law

The Government has confirmed the long awaited ‘no fault’ divorces in the UK will be available from 6th April 2022. The Act was initially passed in June 2020 but was delayed because of the pandemic. Described as the biggest shake up in divorce law for 50 years, it seeks to end the ‘blame game’ of divorce proceedings reducing the impact that these can have on couples and their dependents.

What is the current divorce system?

Currently, in order to be granted a divorce in England or Wales, the court needs to be convinced that the marriage has irretrievably been broken down. It requires one spouse to file a divorce application and in the process, make an accusation about the other spouse's conduct.

This can be one of three reasons - adultery, unreasonable behaviour or desertion. If none of these can be cited, the divorcing couple must complete two years separation if there is agreement on both sides or five years living apart if not, before the marriage can legally be dissolved.

What does the ‘no fault’ divorce change?

The new legislation will result in some significant changes.

These include:

  • Divorces granted without one person blaming the other
  • Couples can apply for the divorce jointly.
  • It will no longer be possible to contest a divorce
  • Rather than stating one of the ‘3 reasons’, couples provide a statement of the irretrievable breakdown.
  • Minimum of 20 weeks between application and divorce becoming final (providing an opportunity for couples to reflect and work through differences before committing).

Being able to say that the relationship has failed rather than holding either person accountable should make it easier for couples to settle the terms of their divorce and reduce the stress, pain and conflict that couples often endure during their separation.

Why not take a conflict free approach with us.

Here at Poole Townsend, we know how difficult divorces can be. If you are considering a no fault divorce, or simply looking to make your separation as conflict free as possible, we can provide an alternative route to resolving family separation.

Our family mediation service offers a safe environment for parties to discuss their concerns, division of assets, property and arrangements for children. This enables couples to avoid lengthy, emotionally exhausting and costly court proceedings to find a solution that they are both happy with.

To make an appointment for an initial consultation or to learn more about this service see our recent blog or dedicated website page.

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