Dawn Pennell considers ‘no fault’ divorce
It seems that the ‘blame game’ is finally about to end. At present divorcing couples need to demonstrate that their marriage has irretrievably broken down and are forced to blame each other by saying that their spouse has behaved unreasonably, has committed adultery or deserted them unless they can prove that they have lived apart for two years with the other’s consent or five years without that consent. This often increases legal fees and animosity at such an early stage making later discussions regarding children and financial matters more difficult.
Resolution which is a group of about 6,500 family law professionals who are committed to allowing couples to deal with the consequences of relationship breakdown with as little acrimony as possible by ending their marriages with dignity and by avoiding unnecessary conflict, have campaigned for more than 30 years for the law to be changed.
Following a consultation in which family justice professionals and those with direct experience of divorce voiced their support for reform of the 50 year old divorce law the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill finally reached the end of its parliamentary journey and received Royal Assent in June 2020 with implementation likely by the Autumn of 2021.
So, what will this mean to couples who separate and wish to divorce? The introduction of a no-fault divorce system will mean that couples will be able to petition for divorce without either person having to be held to be at fault. It is likely to make it easier for lawyers to be better able to support clients to resolve matters as constructively and amicably as possible thus minimising the impact of separation and divorce on any children involved.
The Law Society has been quoted as saying that ‘no fault’ divorce would bring divorce law into the 21st century and is a change which will be welcomed by many.
This article was written 5 November 2020 and the law may change following this date.
Dawn Pennell is a Partner based at the Stalham office.
Capron & Helliwell offer a fixed fee first appointment for family law matters - for details or to book an appointment please contact Dawn Pennell on 01692 581231.
This article aims to supply general information but it is not intended to constitute advice. Every effort is made to ensure that the law referred to is correct at the date of publication and to avoid any statement which may mislead. However, no duty of care is assumed to any person and no liability is accepted for any omission or inaccuracy. Always seek specific advice.