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Currently, Divorce Law in England and Wales largely encompasses the element of ‘fault’. To obtain a divorce within two years, one party must blame the other for adultery or for behaving unreasonably.
This prevents couples from obtaining a divorce simply due to amicable breakdown of marriage within two years of separation.
A YouGov study carried out in 2021 revealed that 52% of divorces were based on fault in the UK but 27% of couples who asserted blame admitted the allegations were actually false.
However, April 2022 will see reform to Divorce Law for the first time in almost 50 years when a ‘no-fault divorce’ system will be introduced. This will enable couples to get divorced without being forced to use any facts that imply the other party is solely to blame for the breakdown of the marriage.
Former President of the Supreme Court Baroness-Hale fully supports these changes, which she believes will ease some of the pain and stress endured during divorce and separation. Parties’ will be able to make an application jointly rather than one against the other, which is hoped to encourage amicability and reduce tension and confrontation. This will importantly benefit the children of divorcing couples, encouraging parties to keep an open line of communication.
Under the new process for a divorce (from April 2022) a compulsory 20-week period between application for divorce and the decree nisi (to be renamed ‘conditional order’ under the new Law), will be implemented to counter the concern of some organisations that separating couples will be less inclined to attempt to save their relationship. This period is expected to encourage the use of mediation and encourage a period of reflection for both parties before committing to a divorce.
The archaic elements of current divorce law can make divorces today extremely costly and time-consuming. Removing the necessity to prove ‘fault’ could make the process more efficient, easing financial pressure on families, potentially making the current family judicial system much more effective. No-fault divorce also seeks to greatly benefit children by reducing hostility and encouraging amicable negotiation. The new process should be welcomed by all.
If you are experiencing family issues and are considering a divorce please get in touch with our Family Team here at Ramsdens Solicitors for advice and guidance. Call us on 08000147720, or email us for a free 30 minute discussion.