It is often known that divorce enquiries spike quickly after the festive season, leaving January to be known as divorce month or the first working Monday of the New Year to be referred to as divorce day – the day in which family solicitors typically see a spike in divorce enquiries. However, this year, many experts believe that divorce month or day may fall in April instead due to the new no fault divorce laws coming into force.
The long-awaited Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, which introduces no fault divorce, was passed in June 2020 and will come into law on 6 April 2022. In essence, the legislation states that either party of a marriage can request a divorce without having to cite blame.
Currently, couples can only be granted a divorce if one of five factors has caused the marriage irreversible breakdown:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Two years of separation with consent
- Five years of separation without consent
Removing the ‘blame game’
When someone is seeking a divorce, they usually have to place an element of blame on their spouse for the breakdown of their marriage unless they have been separated for a period of time (two or five years). In April, this will all change.
The new law will remove this ‘blame game’ by allowing either spouse or the couple jointly to make a decision to divorce. This will also stop one party opposing a divorce when the other party wants one removing the possibility of defended divorces which has, historically, for example, allowed domestic abusers to have further coercive control over their spouses.
The new law aims to bring divorce in line with the Government’s approach to family justice – avoiding confrontation and acrimony where possible and helping to reduce the damaging effect separation can have on the family and children in particular.
It’s important to recognise the new law will also introduce a 20-week period between the initial petition stages when the Courts grant the provision decree of divorce. This provides the divorcing couple time to reflect and have the chance to turn back, or where the divorce is inevitable, time to co-operate and make arrangements for the future in respect of their finances and the arrangements for their children in a calmer, less stressful way.
Kate Daly, the founder of online divorce service, Amicable, told The Independent:
‘It’s the biggest reform to divorce law in 50 years and will mark a moment in history and believes most couples will wait until 6 April when the new No-Fault Divorce Bill becomes law.’
Lawyers believe that the new law will mean the process of getting divorced will be less stressful for some couples.
Recently, the Government has introduced guidance for home working again under Plan B measures. This then makes it more difficult for people to have private conversations with spouses potentially in the house.
At Nelsons, we can still offer face-to-face appointments if necessary or find other ways of working around the client’s need for privacy.
How can we help?
Emma Davies is a specialist family law solicitor at Nelsons, who specialises in divorce and financial settlements which involve complex issues.
If you need advice on any divorce-related matter or have any other family law-related queries, please contact Emma or another member of the team in Derby, Nottingham, or Leicester on 0800 024 1976 or via our online form.
Emma or the team we will be happy to discuss your circumstances in more detail and give you more information about the services that our family law solicitors can provide along with details of our hourly rates and fixed fee services.Contact us