No fault divorce – Is it the promised silver bullet?

It has been referred to as the biggest change to divorce laws in 50 years, but has it delivered? Like everything else in our lives, it was delayed by Covid-19

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The long-awaited No-fault divorce law and process came into effect in England and Wales on 6 April 2022. It has been referred to as the biggest change to divorce laws in 50 years, but has it delivered? Like everything else in our lives, it was delayed by Covid-19.

It is what it says on the tin: couples no longer need to blame the other person for wanting a divorce. This change also applies to the dissolution of civil partnership.

The intention and hope for this change to the law, is that couples and their lawyers can focus on structuring the split and all the other arrangements for children and finances that this requires.

What's New

  • The five reasons for wanting a divorce are gone. No need to assign fault for the breakdown of a relationship.
  • Divorce on the grounds that the marriage of civil partnership has broken down
  • Can no longer contest the divorce (except on jurisdiction grounds)
  • Couples can now apply jointly
  • Minimum time (reflection time) between the application and the final order of 20 weeks
  • Some divorce terminology updates
  • Divorce court fee increased

Our tips to achieving a good divorce

Protect your Children

Divorce is a difficult thing for all concerned, especially the children. Case studies show that children cope better with a joint parenting. Couples who recognise this and protect their children move on quicker and have better outcomes.

Adequate Reflection

Take time out to properly consider your priorities and the decision to start the divorce process, and above all prioritise your wellbeing.

Find the right legal help

It goes without saying that it matters very much who you are speaking to during this process, and the same is true about who you are getting legal advice from. Do your research and understand not just the pricing, but the expertise and service that is offered.

Think about alternatives to court

Court proceedings are ultimately more stressful and costly than mediation, collaborative law or round table meetings. Ask us for help in deciding which alternative to court might work best for you, and don’t rule out the direct approach, amicable negotiations and we can still support you through this. Sometimes, more is achieved when separating couples speak to each other directly, without external parties, even though both will have access to legal advice.

Dealing with finances after separation

This aspect of separation has not been changed at all by the new law and process. It is important that a divorce does not settle the financial arrangements. This is a separate process that must be dealt with either by private negotiations with each other, through solicitors, or by mediation. Of course, if those fail, then it may be necessary to go to court.

Find out more about getting started or about the financial aspects of divorce

Family & Divorce

Published: July 2022 | Author: Daniel Moore