“No fault” divorce

You may have recently seen that the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill has been backed in the House of Commons by an overall majority. It appears that the ‘no-fault’ divorce is set to come into force around autumn 2021. For some, this is welcome news and is widely believed to help bring the divorce law into the 21st Century.

Currently, people wishing to divorce need to cite one of the five reasons to show that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. This usually means one party has to attribute blame to the other in order to obtain a divorce. The alternative to placing “blame” on the other person under the current law, means the petitioner has to wait either up to a period of two years with the consent of the other party to the divorce or five years without their consent.

The introduction of the “no fault” divorce will mean parties can choose to divorce without blaming the other. It is thought that this will help to reduce conflict between them, which can be particularly damaging where children are concerned. Supporters of the bill would say that this means parties can obtain a divorce, without one party feeling that they are solely to blame for the breakdown of the marriage. This may help them to reach an agreement in respect of the finances and arrangements for the children without the need for lengthy Court Proceedings.

Critics of the Bill argue that it makes it much easier for parties to obtain a divorce which could undermine the lifelong commitment of marriage. Some legal professionals are also concerned that simplifying the divorce process may encourage parties to arrange their own divorce without obtaining legal advice first.

A divorce brings about an end to the marriage and is a fairly straight forward process in itself. Difficulties arise when parties require assistance in separating their financial ties where a divorce is inevitable. This is particularly important where there are assets in the marriage that need dividing up, such as properties, pensions and businesses. Lawyers are concerned in particular, that Litigants in Person arranging their own divorce may miss out on a potential claim for financial remedy. Some people may find themselves losing out on a claim for maintenance or a pension share if the right advice is not obtained at the outset. It is also vitally important to obtain legal advice in relation to obtaining a “clean break”, as going through the divorce process alone does not sever the parties’ financial ties.

If you find yourself considering the option of divorce, we are here to help. We offer an initial 30-minute options meeting, which is free of charge, to discuss your circumstances and the options available to you. We are specialists in dealing with divorce, finances and children matters arising out of separation and are committed to help you resolve matters as quickly, fairly and amicably as possible. Please feel free to call us on 01270 610300 or contact one of our Family Lawyers today for your free initial meeting.