One of the most fundamental changes in divorce legislation for over 200 years, no-fault divorce, is now set to come into force on 6th April 2022. This is a significant step towards updating divorce law to better reflect the modern world, with the aim of reducing levels of conflict and stress on separating couples and their families.
Currently, divorcing couples have to prove one of five facts for a divorce application to be accepted. These are adultery; unreasonable behaviour; desertion for over two years; separation for over two years if both parties agree to the divorce, or separation for over five years if only one party is seeking a divorce. Owing to this, separating couples can easily fall victim to the ‘blame game,’ causing added hostility and stress.
In contrast, no-fault divorce will allow couples to simply state that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, without having to produce any evidence of bad behaviour. This can either be done as a joint statement or by an individual. It is hoped that by reducing the chance for acrimony, it will make it easier for couples to focus on how they divide their finances, assets, property and most importantly, the care of any children.
What’s more, the process will be streamlined, and the language used much simpler and more accessible. No-fault divorce will also be quicker to get to the first formal stage of a divorce, the decree nisi. Under the current system this can take up to a year, but the new system hopes to reduce this to a 20-week wait time.
The campaign for this change has been spearheaded by Resolution, a group of family law professionals who believe that a non-confrontational approach to family law issues produces better outcomes for separating couples and their children.
“We are delighted that no-fault divorce has finally got an implementation date,” said Director, Gilva Tisshaw. “As a practice founded on an ethos of client care, we welcome this change to the law designed to help minimise the upset that divorce can cause.”