Can couples apply for divorce and move on without bitter wrangling?
April 2022 saw a landmark reform in introducing no-fault divorce. Deputy Prime Minister Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Dominic Raab said “The breakdown of a marriage can be agonising for all involved, especially children. We want to reduce the acrimony couples endure and end the anguish that children suffer. That’s why we are allowing couples to apply for divorce without having to prove fault, ending the blame game, where a marriage has broken down irretrievably and enabling couples to move on with their lives without the bitter wrangling of an adversarial divorce process.”
So has this had the effect that was intended, ending the blame game and removing the acrimony and vitriol, in the process? Certainly for the purposes of the divorce process couples no longer have to apportion blame, so they can focus on the practical and financial aspects of their separation and the childcare arrangements.
Whether or not the couple had made a mutual decision to separate, it was necessary under the old law to apportion blame by pleading adultery or unreasonable behaviour, as the alternative was to remain in a state of limbo, unable to action a divorce until the necessary period of separation had expired.
Most importantly, it has prevented an abusive partner from having the opportunity to exert further control by contesting the divorce and in the process, locking their spouse into an unhappy marriage.
The mandatory 20-week period between starting the process and being able to apply for the first decree of divorce, “the Conditional Order” has also provided a much-needed period of reflection and consideration. This allows a window to affect a reconciliation or meaningfully work together towards a resolution of the practical and financial settlement. Couples can even opt to make a joint statement of the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage so as to end the previously one-sided and divisive approach.
The divorce process and terminology used has also been simplified and demystified enabling couples to apply for a divorce, either on a sole or joint application, without the need for legal representation.
Following the implementation of these groundbreaking changes, the government is now committed to reforming financial settlements after a divorce. Time will tell as to how and if this can be achieved, but the less adversarial and gentler divorce process has been transformative, for family law and will pave the way for this.
This article was brought to you by our family solicitor at Kidd Rapinet Solicitors Maidenhead. You can speak to any of the family lawyers across our other offices in Aylesbury, Canary Wharf, Farnham, High Wycombe or Slough, using the form provided. Please use the links provided to find more information on divorce or separation, child arrangements and other areas of family law.
These materials and content have been prepared for the benefit of their viewers/readers. They are intended for marketing purposes only and are of a general nature and do not constitute legal advice applicable to any particular facts or circumstances. Kidd Rapinet LLP and/or the author(s) accept no duty of care, responsibility or liability for any loss or damage which you or any third party may suffer as a result of any reliance or use by you or them of these marketing materials and content, except to the extent it is not legally possible to exclude such liability. If you require legal advice on your own situation, please contact us so we can discuss how we may assist.