Many of you will be aware that the 'no fault divorce' bill gained Royal Assent last year.
The Government has announced that the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, which will allow married couples to divorce without assigning blame, will come into force on 6th April 2022.
It is great to see that the government have finally committed to a date for the introduction of no fault divorce, which many clients have been waiting for. Whilst the date is later than we had originally hoped, it does give us a definite timescale to work towards.
Under the Present Divorce Law, you have to satisfy the court that your marriage has irretrievably broken down and you do that by relying on one of 5 facts. Three are to do with how long you have been separated, these are 2 years separation with the other parties consent, 2 years desertion and 5 years separation. The other two facts are fault based and are adultery or unreasonable behaviour.
The change in the law will mean that parties will no longer have to attribute blame to their partner to obtain a divorce where they haven’t been separated long enough. You will be able to just say in the divorce petition that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and that will be sufficient for a judge to say you are entitled to a divorce.
The Act will also require that the divorce process be given a minimum timeframe of six months before the divorce is made final. This will offer couples time for reflection and give them the opportunity to consider options with regards to their finances and arrangements for their children.
The changes will allow couples to get divorced more easily but it is unlikely to be quicker given the crisis currently facing the family court system with delays and cuts to funding.
The emotional pain and stress of divorce proceedings are not going to change. The parties are still going to feel emotional pain and point blame. There will still be a conflict between parties and matters to resolve which you may not feel you can handle yourself.
Many couples will attempt the divorce process themselves but we cannot stress the importance of taking some legal advice from a family law specialist before you do. It is important that you understand the impact of the divorce.
In a recent article, we set out some of the problems that our clients have encountered as a result of attempting a DIY divorce. Read more here - https://www.nevesllp.co.uk/our-news/is-diy-divorce-a-good-idea
Some of the things overlooked by couples who start divorce proceedings and do not seek family legal advice are as follows:
At Neves, as family specialists with a wealth of experience in dealing with family breakdown, we are at your side throughout the entire process. We will always try to deal with your matter as amicably as possible and attempt to reduce the conflict, especially where there are children involved.