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Jul 21

No Fault Divorce Delayed

Written by Claire Hunter
Solicitor

DDI: 01423 726620
E: claire.hunter@raworths.co.uk

As my colleague Ellie Foster explained in her article No Fault Divorce earlier this year, the Government announced a new law on ‘no-fault’ divorce to come into effect this October however, this has now been delayed until April 2022.

When it becomes law it will mean that separating couples will no longer have to rely on one of the five facts to prove the ground for divorce or dissolution of their civil partnership – the irretrievable breakdown of the relationship.  Instead the new law will remove blame and help the parties avoid unnecessary conflict, promoting a more constructive approach to divorce.

What does this mean if I would like to get divorced now?

 The ‘no-fault’ divorce reform is now delayed until April 2022, however, if you are considering commencing divorce/dissolution proceedings and do not want to wait until April 2022, you may be able to divorce your partner using one of the five facts to prove your marriage has irretrievably broken down. These facts are:

  1. Unreasonable behaviour
  2. Adultery
  3. Desertion for at least two years
  4. Separation for at least two years with the consent of both parties
  5. Separation for at least five years even where one party disagrees

Numbers 1 and 2 effectively mean that one of the parties needs to blame the other for the breakdown of the marriage and numbers 3 to 5 mean that a period of at least two years needs to have elapsed since the parties separated before they can petition to end their marriage or dissolve their partnership.

Why should I wait for the ‘no-fault’ divorce reforms to take place?  

  1.  If both parties agree they will be able to make a joint application for divorce/dissolution which will allow them to have a completely amicable divorce/dissolution.
  2. As the name implies the ‘no-fault’ divorce process will remove the requirement for one party to have to blame the other or for the parties to have been separated for at least 2 years.
  3. The parties do not have to worry about their partner contesting the divorce/dissolution and forcing them to go to court.
  4. No-fault divorce will mean that couples will have to wait about six months for their divorce/dissolution to be finalised, however, this time is intended to be a period of reflection for both parties to consider whether they do truly want to end their marriage. The parties can, during this time, make arrangements to divide their finances and sort out issues concerning any children.

Do I have to wait for a no fault divorce?

This will depend on the circumstances as each case is different. Ending a marriage/partnership is a big decision and specialist legal advice should be sought. If you are considering divorce/dissolution and would like further information or advice we are happy to discuss this and provide options specific to your own needs.

If you require any advice on this matter, please do not hesitate to contact Raworths Family Law Team on 01423 566666.

Published on 8 July 2021

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