What is “no-fault divorce” and is it better?
No fault divorce
- Shifting from blame game to a modernised way of doing things
The current law on divorce has been considered archaic and problematic for a while by legal professionals. It has been argued that the existing rules have created further problems between couples, as matters can escalate into a blame game and can get quite messy. This was the main reason for The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 being passed. The Act aims to modernise the way divorces are carried out and to place importance on issues such as property and children rather than the individuals separating.
The current law on divorce
In order to be granted a divorce in England and Wales, you would need to convince the court that the marriage has ‘irretrievably broken down.’ However, if a couple has been living separately for the past two years, it is a lot easier to show this.
What does the court look for when granting a divorce?
There are five legal reasons which can be used when applying for a divorce, these include:
- Citing unreasonable behaviour
- Living apart for at least two years and both parties agree to the divorce
- Living apart for at least five years, regardless of whether one party disagrees
How have the rules changed since?
The new law will come into effect on 6 April 2022 and intends to simplify the process for couples looking to divorce.
Reason for divorce- One of the major changes include taking away the need to blame the other party for an ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage.’ Put simply, divorce can be granted by stating that the marriage has broken beyond repair, as the five reasons for divorce have been removed.
20 weeks minimum timeframe- There will now be a minimum of 20 weeks waiting time between an application and a conditional order being granted. This will allow couples some time to reflect on their decision and provide them with the space they need to see if they can work through their differences or not.
Joint application for divorce- Couples can now apply for divorce together which should result in less conflict.
Clear terminology- The new Act has been updated to remove outdated words, for example, the person applying for the divorce will now be known as an ‘applicant’ rather than a ‘petitioner.’
No option for contesting a divorce- Under the new law, if one party applies for divorce, the other cannot contest this.
Why have the laws changed?
The biggest issue with the current system is that one party must take the blame for the marriage breaking down. This has caused huge problems between couples and delayed matters. Also, in situations where one party no longer wants to stay in the marriage but the other refuses to accept this has also contributed to the length of time it takes to obtain a divorce. By removing the blame altogether and the ability to challenge the divorce, the new law will be able to shorten the time it takes to get divorced and make it a less stressful procedure for those involved.
How much will a divorce now cost?
At MLS, we understand that divorce can be an emotionally and financially challenging time. This is why we will always try to offer a fixed fee and you can have a free initial consultation to see if that would be possible in your particular circumstances.
Please see out price transparency section here to find out more
This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please contact on 01244 478 730 or email us at email@example.com to book your free consultation.