Where are we now? The New No-Fault Divorce Law in Practice.
Our Head of the family law department, Suzanne Millichap, released an article back in January sharing her thoughts on the new No-Fault Divorce law. Today, she reflects on how the new law has been operating since it came into place on the 6th April 2022.
To briefly sum-up the No-Fault Divorce Law changes; a spouse, or a couple jointly, can now apply for divorce by simply stating their marriage has broken down irretrievably. This is believed to remove unnecessary finger-pointing and acrimony during a particularly challenging and emotional time for couples.
“As a practitioner, it is a welcome change to leave behind contentious discussions or explanations around ‘unreasonable behaviour’, ‘adultery’ or checking there has been a long period of separation when approaching any conversation about starting a divorce.”
Married couples now need to make a sworn statement of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage before the court. Suzanne stresses the importance of couples understanding the implications of this:
“The statement constitutes conclusive evidence before the court that the marriage has irretrievably broken down which removes the possibility of disputing the decision to divorce. The court has also introduced a new minimum period of 20 weeks from the start of proceedings until the second stage of the divorce (previously called the decree nisi), now called the conditional order of divorce.”
Outlining the impact of the new law on the courts:
“There has been what can be described as an element of ‘pent up demand’ in relation to couples delaying their divorce until the new scheme comes through in order to avoid the blame game. There are fears that an initial surge in cases, coupled with the new technology necessary to implement no fault divorce, may put added pressure on courts.”
“The new process avoids blame but is by no means a ‘quickie divorce’ as some have referred to it. It still requires careful consideration with a professional who is experienced and can help you in navigating the nuances of the new law and as always can give careful consideration of the financial implications and the arrangements for the children in a divorce.”
If you are seeking a divorce, Suzanne Millichap is happy to give advice to help you understand how these changes to the law could affect your individual case. Please contact her by telephone at our Beeston office on 0115 922 1591, or via email email@example.com. As a well-regarded and well-known local and approachable firm with a team of dedicated family lawyers, we are on hand to assist you with any family law queries.
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