The welcome announcement that divorcing couples can obtain a no-fault divorce from 6 April 2022 marks the most dramatic and far-reaching change in divorce laws in 50 years.
No-fault divorce finally ends the bitter ‘blame game’, making it easier for people to manage their separation and work together to avoid lengthy and stressful court disputes.
Under current legislation, to petition for divorce the petitioner must satisfy one of the following five facts to establish that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
1. Unreasonable behaviour
3. Two years separation with the consent of the other party;
4. Five years separation without consent; and
This means that unless couples have lived apart for two or five years, one partner has to take some form of blame, either adultery or unreasonable behaviour.
No fault divorce will provide a less acrimonious divorce process, enabling one or both parties to issue a petition for divorce simply with a statement confirming that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
A 20 week period for reflection follows – after which a conditional order is made. Once a further 6 weeks expires, a Final Order can be granted.
While Children and Financial Arrangements will still be resolved separately, it is anticipated that the removal of ‘allegations’ will promote a better atmosphere for discussion and agreement.
As a niche family law firm we always stress the importance of putting children’s interests first. We have experienced at first-hand how prolonged divorce proceedings can cause conflict and lingering resentment and have long-term repercussions on their health and education.
Jones Myers, together with Resolution, which champions non-confrontational approaches in family law, has been at the forefront of lobbying MPs locally and at the Palace of Westminster for these major changes. We are understandably delighted with this rewarding outcome.
Designed to reflect society’s attitudes, the legislation was originally set to come into force in autumn 2021. The delay to 6 April 2022 is to enable the court IT system to be up and running with the new process.
ABOUT PETER JONES
Peter Jones is one of the country’s leading divorce and family lawyers. A qualified Arbitrator and Mediator, Peter set up Jones Myers as the first niche family law firm in the north of England in 1992 and has acted for a string of high-profile clients.
Renowned for his sympathetic approach, Peter is the current chair of Resolution’s Accreditation Committee, a former national chairman of Resolution and a former Deputy District Judge. www.jonesmyers.co.uk