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No Fault Divorce

View profile for Katherine Semlyen
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No-fault divorce

It is rare that Family Law makes it into the news, but you may have already heard about an imminent change in the law concerning divorces.

The current law

Within two years of separation, you can only get divorced on a ‘fault’ basis. This means that you must blame your spouse, either by complaining of their unreasonable behaviour or adultery.

For unreasonable behaviour, you must list examples of their behaviour that you consider have led to the breakdown of the marriage. This can obviously cause bad feeling, and your spouse can oppose the divorce.

For adultery, you don’t have to name the person that they committed adultery with, but there are various technical rules, and your spouse must admit the adultery to the Court.

Change to the law

From April 2022, you will be able to get divorced without relying on unreasonable behaviour or adultery. The only ground for divorce will be that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. This is being referred to as ‘no-fault divorce’.

Advantages of no-fault divorce

  • It may help separating couples to navigate the process more amicably, and to cooperate to resolve financial and children issues.
  • It should be simpler, and the other party can’t prevent the divorce from going through.

Disadvantages of no-fault divorce

  • There will be no way of objecting to a divorce going through for the person in receipt of the proceedings.
  • It may be more likely that proceedings will be started impulsively, without proper consideration, for example after an argument.
  • The divorce process may be simpler, but the law relating to finances and children remains complicated. People may be less likely to consult a solicitor, which means they may miss out on important advice. In particular, there still needs to be a financial consent order to settle how assets are to be dealt with now and in the future.

How we can help

With many years’ experience of navigating the divorce process, we can advise you as to the best course of action, tailored to your individual circumstances. This is important to safeguard your financial interests in the short and the longer term. The law is complex and very case specific, and it is important that you know what you are entitled to before you reach any agreement with your partner.

We will provide you with initial advice and then refer you to mediation to resolve children or financial issues where appropriate. We would provide you with advice alongside that process and draw up any orders at the end. We can also correspond with your ex-partner’s solicitors if required. We avoid court proceedings wherever possible, but if they become necessary we will provide you with the best possible representation.