Are you ready for the No Fault Divorce?
From 6th April, the law on divorce will be changing and after years of legal campaigning, we will finally have ‘no fault divorce’.
For the past 50 years, we have unfortunately had a situation where to prove a marriage has broken down, approximately two-thirds of divorces have had to state that the unreasonable behaviour of their husband or wife had caused their divorce. This was because unless they had been living separately for 2 years or more and had their spouse’s consent, had lived apart for 5 years or if their spouse had committed adultery and would admit to that, this was the only basis on which they could base their divorce. This inevitably created blame and conflict from the start of the process which was unhelpful to the parties, particularly if they also needed to resolve the more important issues of agreeing arrangements regarding their children and financial matters. This ‘blame game’ set the wrong tone from the start.
The new Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act which comes into force on 6th April aims to update the divorce process and will allow the divorce application to start with a simple statement from one spouse or from them both jointly confirming that the marriage has broken down and cannot be saved.
The new rules will also limit the circumstances in which the other spouse can defend or delay the divorce as the initial statement that the marriage has broken down will be conclusive evidence for the court to make an order for divorce.
As such, if you now wish to divorce, you can, even if your spouse objects.
After submitting this sole or joint statement, there will be a new minimum time period of 20 weeks to allow both parties time to agree practical arrangements regarding the separation such as financial and children matters.
Once 20 weeks has passed, a conditional order is granted by the courts which confirms you are entitled to a divorce. This replaces the old ‘Decree Nisi’.
After the conditional order there is still a 6-week period before a final order is granted (formerly the Decree Absolute), which dissolves the marriage or civil partnership. You are then officially divorced and can then remarry.
You will see that the new procedure should be less confrontational and more designed to assist divorcing couples in concentrating on the important issues-not attributing blame for the marriage breakdown but agreeing financial and children arrangements so they can move on with their lives.
Speak to one of our Family Solicitors at Prince Evans and we can help you navigate the new divorce procedure and also assist with dealing with agreeing financial and children issues.
Contact our family team today on 020 8280 2710 to discuss making an agreement tailor made to your circumstances, priorities and needs.