As we conclude our “Good Divorce Week” we focus on the future. From 6th April 2022 the Divorce Law of England and Wales is set to change. Currently the sole ground upon which a divorce may be granted is where a marriage has broken down irretrievably and to establish that one party must prove one of the following five facts. Two are fault grounds, namely adultery and unreasonable behaviour and three of the facts require the parties to either live separate and apart for at least two years immediately preceding the presentation of a petition or a continuous period of at least five years. The nearest option to no-fault divorce presently is either the parties living separate and apart for two years with the Respondent consenting to a divorce being presented on that basis or, five years separation. The key changes from April 2022 include:
- The irretrievable breakdown of a marriage will be the sole ground of divorce rather than having to prove one of the five facts. A simple statement of irretrievable breakdown will be sufficient.
- Joint applications for divorce will be introduced although one party will still be able to start divorce proceedings on their own.
- Contesting the divorce will no longer be an option but there will still be some legal grounds for challenging the divorce if needed.
- A sixth month “cooling off period” will be established starting from the initial petition to the final divorce. This will give couples time to ensure that they are making the right decision, and plenty of time to make sure financial issues can be resolved before the divorce is finalised.
The changes to the Divorce Law will ensure that couples will not be forced to choose a blameworthy party or be pitted against each other leading to increased acrimony and upset. Being able to simply state that the relationship has failed without having to criticise or blame another person for their bad behaviour will hopefully ease the stress and tension between the parties. It is more likely that divorce will end amicably if it is what both parties want and will also give both parties more time to deal with financial issues and more importantly, where the acrimony and upset that is often created within the current divorce proceedings will lead to a more conciliatory approach being adopted by both parties which will also benefit both parties’ ability to co-parent children. Perhaps this will become the epitome of what a “Good” Divorce looks like?
Kerseys Family Law Solicitors offers tailored-made solutions for divorcing and separating couples. Whilst our standard working day is 9.00am to 17.15pm, our Family Lawyers are flexible to support your needs and will if possible arrange out of hours online appointments for you, visit our web site and click “Call Me Back” to request a free call back or telephone us on Ipswich 01473 213311 or Colchester 01206 584584 or email us at [email protected]