If you are contemplating divorce, we know that you will have multiple questions about the steps involved, the grounds for divorce and the wider considerations for your finances, your home and your children. In April, there will be revolutionary changes to divorce law introduced, with the main purpose to remove the implication that one party is at fault in a marriage or civil partnership. Jason Evans, Partner and Collaborative Lawyer in our Family Law team, explains more about these changes and how we can support you during these times.
For many years, there have been five grounds for divorce, as follows:
The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill received Royal Assent in 2020 with the key focus being to remove the element of blame from divorce proceedings. Deciding to divorce will naturally be an emotional one for both people involved, but with the current grounds it’s clear that for a divorce to occur earlier than two years after separation, one party must be guilty of some wrongdoing. This will inevitably make it harder for other decisions to be made harmoniously, such as arrangements for children, property or the finances of the couple. While the option of waiting for two years is currently available, this can delay a couple feeling like they can move on with their lives and making a fresh start.
There are various amendments that the Bill will introduce with implications for couple looking to divorce:
There will still remain a six-week time period between the conditional order (previously decree nisi) and the final order (previously decree absolute) being granted.
It is important to note that under the new rules, making arrangements for your finances will still be dealt with separately to your divorce and will not change how a Court views division of your assets.
Depending on your circumstances, you may be required to disclose your financial obligations and position, after which a full assessment can be arranged in order for you to understand your rights and entitlements before reaching decisions.
We would always recommend you seek legal advice regarding your financial arrangements, particularly in relation to pension provisions, as these are often overlooked but could make a significant difference in your long term financial stability. We can also advise at this stage how you obtain your consent order to ensure any agreement reached regarding your finances becomes legally binding.
The introduction of the no fault divorce recognises that marriages do not solely fail due to the actions of one person, but can simply be a case of two people drifting apart or becoming unhappy. By removing the apportionment of blame it allows couples to focus on other matters involved, such as their property and children, without the stress and conflict that has historically arisen, providing a more harmonious future for the family unit as a whole.
Our Family Law team are available to answer your questions and provide you with guidance as to the best course of action if you are facing divorce or separation. We offer a free initial appointment to allow you the opportunity to understand the steps involved and the benefits of using an experienced legal team. To discuss making an appointment, you can contact Jason or the Family Law team on 01794 328688.
This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice. All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.