September 3, 2021

Divorce doesn’t have to be a messy, complicated, ugly blame game. Sometimes, two people just decide that separate paths are the best for everyone, and go their separate ways. However, for decades, the legal system has been criticised when it comes to divorce law for instigating conflict between couples, as they are forced to place blame or to remain married to incompatible or abusive spouses. This new legislation could make the whole system much, much easier, especially for couples who simply want to separate and move on with their lives.

Now, a new piece of legislation will allow them to do exactly that. Under the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, married couples can issue divorce proceedings without assigning blame, effectively a no-fault divorce. This no-fault divorce legislation will come into force on the 6 April 2022.

What’s so different about this law?

Previously, couples who wanted to get divorced were required to rely on one of the ‘five facts’ to establish the ground for divorce. Any one or a combination of these would be used to prove that a marriage had broken down irretrievably. These five facts are:

  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Separation for at least 2 years with consent from both parties
  • Separation for at least 5 years

However, if couples couldn’t cite any of the above reasons, it was difficult to pursue the process and the legal system effectively forced divorcing couples to play the ‘blame game’ simply to get the result they wanted. This archaic ruling harked back to the days when divorce was a social stigma, and couples who simply and amicably wanted to part would be forced to effectively accuse one another of non-existent misdemeanours or ‘take one for the team’ to actually get the courts to grant a divorce.

How this will work

So what’s changed? Well, it’s important to understand that the grounds for divorce will remain the same. However, the spouse applying for the divorce will no longer be required to provide evidence that one or more of the ‘five facts’ are a reason for separation or have been responsible for the breakdown of their marriage.

There will be a new minimum period of 20 weeks from the start of the divorce proceedings to the Conditional Order being pronounced. The applicant spouse will then be able to apply for a Final Order after six weeks from the date of the Conditional Order (unless they are resolving financial matters, in which case they may not wish to do so).

This keeps a divorce simply about the separation of two people and their financial arrangements, rather than a ‘he said/she said’ war of words in court that could drag on for years. It also means that if children are involved, it keeps things civil and calm, causing far less stress and anxiety during what is already a highly emotional and challenging time for everyone.

Why does a no-fault divorce matter?

The current law is set out in a statue from 1973. This was a time when The Equality Act was still in its infancy, the idea of a spouse as ‘property’ was still left over from the 1950s and ‘60s, and, well, let’s be honest, times have changed since the early seventies.

A no-fault divorce matters because it fits in with the modern way of living. It removes the ‘blame game’ from the process, giving everyone equal standing and the right to walk away from a relationship that has run out of steam without having to alienate an ex-spouse by falsely accusing them of ‘unreasonable behaviour’, for example, when all that’s happened is that the relationship has simply fizzled out.

A separation is a difficult time for any family to go through. Hopefully the introduction of no-fault divorces will prevent situations where the current law has the potential to exacerbate conflict in already difficult sets of circumstances. It should make dealing with the inevitable arrangements for the children and financial matters which stem from a divorce much easier and amicable, less stressful, and devoid of animosity and hostility. That has to be a good thing for everyone.

< < back to latest news

Archive

  • Walk, run or swim 5.5km for 50 days – Charity event
  • Are the Government’s care home fee proposals too good to be true?
  • Divorcing after the summer holidays
  • Home insurance legal protection – what is it, and do you really need it?
  • Contentious probate – what are the rules?
  • NO FAULT DIVORCE – A BREAKTHROUGH IN FAMILY LAW
  • Will your Family Trust do what you expect it to do?
  • Do parents have different rights in the workplace?
  • Managing long covid in the workplace
  • What is a clean break order?
  • Can future employers look at your social media profiles?
  • Cohabitation agreements: the common law marriage myth
  • Domestic violence – what is coercive control and how can we help?
  • The stay on possession proceedings has been extended with an important change
  • Telling children about separation and divorce
  • Making decisions about divorce when children are involved
  • I want a divorce – what do I need to do?
  • When do you need a solicitor for divorce?
  • Good Divorce Week 2020
  • Premarital agreements: what’s changed in the last decade?
  • Covid-19 and the value of the family home upon divorce
  • Coronavirus and childcare: facilitating contact in the ‘rule of six’ era
  • Jackie Finds New Family at Terry Jones Solicitors
  • Significant surge in divorces
  • Understanding restrictive covenants and furlough leave
  • Redundancy rockets in the UK
  • Furlough scheme enters its next phase in September 2020
  • Coronavirus eviction ban to be extended by four weeks
  • How do self-isolation rules affect Statutory Sick Pay?
  • Potential criminal charges for Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust
  • Gas Safety Certificates and Section 21 notices – a new ruling
  • Action Mesothelioma Day 2020: the dangers of asbestos in the workplace
  • Flexible furlough: how does it work?
  • No-fault divorces: ending the ‘blame game’
  • Ban on tenant evictions extended to August 2020
  • Redundancy and furlough leave
  • Collaborative Law and Covid-19
  • Can you recoup ‘no win, no fee’ legal costs in Inheritance Act Claims?
  • Changes in Employment – what are your rights?
  • What is a protective award claim?
  • Your family law lockdown questions answered
  • Continuing to help make Wills
  • Companies House strike off policy and late filing penalties (Covid-19 changes)
  • Domestic Violence during the Covid-19 Pandemic
  • Employment law support for your dental practice
  • What is a Settlement Agreement?
  • Be wary of ‘DIY’ probate
  • Closing the gap on forgotten employees
  • How effective is your Force Majeure clause?
  • “I don’t need a Lasting Power of Attorney as my family will look after me”
  • Landlord and Tenant court hearings
  • Companies House extension for filing annual accounts
  • Updates for landlords, April 2020 – COVID-19
  • Employment law pitfalls in a pandemic
  • COVID-19 Your holiday entitlement
  • Making redundancies due to coronavirus
  • Family Court Guidance during COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: What is furlough leave
  • Still here for you
  • Property & Finance Attorney under Lasting Power of Attorney
  • CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATE
  • 2020 has brought about exciting changes for our residential team
  • Freedom for All – Domestic Violence, Divorce and Pets
  • Season’s Greetings
  • It’s nearly that time of year again, Christmas is getting closer
  • Elf Day for the Alzheimer’s Society Charity
  • Who gets custody of the pet?
  • Are you concerned about your relationship?
  • An Ageing Population
  • Divorce is just as much an emotional process as a legal one
  • Braving the Zip Line for Charity
  • First Class Law Graduates
  • Shrewsbury Flower Show – A resounding success
  • To Pre-Nup or not to Pre-Nup?
  • Another successful show at Newport
  • PPI Claim Deadline is 29th August 2019
  • Ellen addresses audience at Ludlow Property Conference
  • New Trainee Solicitors
  • Need advice? Email us enquiries@terry-jones.co.uk