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No Fault Divorce - One Year On

It has been a year since no fault divorce became legal - we wanted to know what impact it has had? Read more...

No Fault Divorce - One Year On

Remarkably It Has Been A Year Since No Fault Divorce Became Legal - What Impact Has This Had?

We spoke to Senior Associate Family Lawyer & Accredited Specialist Lindsey Arnold about what has changed.

What are the positive implications?

Many clients are now dealing with their own no fault divorces which is a positive as it does not focus on the fault for the relationship breakdown which it previously did under the old divorce law.

The new divorce process removes the requirement to provide evidence of conduct or separation facts and has replaced this with a simple requirement to provide a statement of irretrievable breakdown.

Has the process been simplified?

The new divorce law removes the ability to defend the decision to end the divorce or civil partnership. It allows joint divorce applications to be made. The whole digital process is much simpler for the clients to deal with themselves prompted by tick boxes on the HMCTS digital Divorce Court portal. There are no longer protracted arguments as to the amount of the costs to be paid by the Respondent party within the new divorce process as there was under the old divorce process.

This saves a lot of time and energy on behalf of the clients and also their legal advisers. It appears a far more civilised process on the face of it but quite lengthy from the date of issue of the process with there being a minimum overall timeframe of six months to the conclusion of the divorce to allow a period of reflection and where divorce is inevitable, provides a greater opportunity for couples to agree the practical arrangements for the future.

Any drawbacks?

From my own experience the downside is that the clients often don’t understand the actual divorce process itself and when prompted to obtain a financial order to sever the financial ties between the parties they often cannot relay the stage they have reached within the actual divorce. The divorce portal prompts the clients in relation to financial orders and this is where they ask us to step in and help. Until then they often have no idea that unless you obtain a financial order from the court, you remain financially tied to the other party in life and death - you need to obtain a legally binding financial court order to sever those ties.

The clients often think that a financial agreement reached between themselves and the final divorce order deals with a clean break in relation to finances when it does not, as they do not have a legally binding agreement unless it has been approved by the court. With this in mind, some clients are still choosing to use our services right from the outset to avoid any further stress.

On the whole I feel it has been a very positive change for divorce laws and has reduced the impact that conflict and allegations of blame can have on families.

Further Reading

Get Expert Legal Advice

Contact Senior Associate Family Lawyer Lindsey Arnold, a Resolution Accredited Specialist in Children Law (Private).

Lindsey specialises in matters including divorce, dissolution of civil partnerships, separation, financial remedy proceedings, complex family law cases involving children, cohabitation agreements, adoption, pre/post-nuptial agreements, jurisdictional issues and family injunctions. She is based at our Poole head office.

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