No-fault divorce finally became a reality in April 2022 and is now well-established within the UK legal system.
Couples no longer have to assign blame to one party in the marriage. With no-fault divorces, the only ground for a divorce is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. There are very limited defences to this ground, and one party cannot defend on the basis they disagree.
It has provided couples with the ability to start a divorce on a joint application basis for the first time. However, figures have shown most are still starting a divorce on a sole basis. This is likely because, from a practical perspective, it is easier.
The divorce process now takes at least 26 weeks from start to finish, which is longer for some cases than it would have been under the previous regime. There is a Court fee of £593, and each party will incur legal costs should they decide to instruct a lawyer to help them with their divorce.
Many positives have flowed from this sea change to the divorce process. For example, it has taken away the potential acrimony that can arise at the start of proceedings, particularly when, in the past, one party has had to produce a list of behaviours the other was demonstrating to prove the irretrievable breakdown.
This sits well with lawyers like myself, who also look to help clients use ADR (alternative dispute resolution). ADR encompasses alternative ways of resolving a couple’s financial affairs on divorce that avoid the Court process. Many clients are no longer approaching matters with a level of hostility that might have arisen because of the fault-based divorce system, which aids the ADR process.
On that note, it is important to remember that whilst a divorce will legally end your marriage, it does not deal with your financial situation or indeed arrangements for any children who may be involved.
If you are considering a divorce and would like some further assistance, please do not hesitate to get in touch for advice and for an initial 30-minute no obligation consultation.
Posted by Elizabeth Stocker
Elizabeth is a highly experienced specialist family lawyer, with a wealth of experience in navigating clients through the financial issues that arise from divorce and separation