The introduction of new no fault divorce laws in England and Wales marks a fundamental shift to a ‘no fault’ system, but what will this mean in practice for couples looking to separate?
Megan Bennie, a solicitor at Furley Page family law team, welcomes the new laws which she believes are sensible reforms that will bring her clients a range of new options when considering whether to divorce.
“The shift to a ‘no fault’ system is the result of 50 years of campaigning and marks a radical change. The previous fault-based system pitted couples who were already experiencing issues against one another, requiring them to engage in a ‘blame game’ instead of separating as quickly and amicably as possible.
“The new law introduces a new system of divorce that is entirely fault-free, and introduces new procedure and terminology to make the process of divorce more ‘user-friendly’. In addition, a new online portal will, the government hopes, make paper applications a thing of the past in all but a few rare cases.
“Perhaps even more revolutionary is that separating couples will now have the option to apply jointly if the divorce is consensual, and will also be able to use the same solicitor (although when it comes to resolving finances or matters relating to children, separate solicitors may then have to be instructed).
“The move to a no-fault divorce law also means divorce and civil partnership applications will now be based on identical criteria, eliminating a controversial difference which meant the options for ending a civil partnership were fewer than for a divorce.
“The changes have not been without criticism and, to reassure campaigners on the more conservative side of the debate, the minimum length of time a divorce will take has increased to 26 weeks to allow a period of reflection on the process and enable parties to call a halt to it if they feel divorce is no longer the right route for them.
“These welcome changes have been long awaited by family law practitioners, who are generally hopeful they will bring a range of beneficial new options to our clients and to all couples who are considering separating.”
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Tags: dating, no fault divorce law, relationships Last modified: April 8, 2022