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Why we welcome No-Fault Divorce

View profile for Jonathan Whettingsteel
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Why we welcome No-Fault Divorce

On 6th April, the biggest change in divorce laws for almost 50 years comes in to force; ‘The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act’ and with it, the introduction of ‘No-Fault Divorce’.

Under current divorce law (which has been in place since 1973, (so was long overdue an update!) if a couple wants to divorce within two years of separation they need to apportion blame to one of them. If they want to divorce without blame, they have to wait for at least those two years.

One of the big issues with this process has been that when the Court looks at the division of matrimonial assets, it takes into consideration the assets at the point of divorce, and not at the point of separation.

This means that if one party’s circumstances improve in the period between separation and the divorce being issued, the other may be able to pursue a larger claim than they would have done at separation. So parties are often forced into finding fault with each other in order to divorce quickly and deal with the financial issues as soon as possible and move on with their lives.  

No matter how prepared someone thinks they are, it is hard to read a divorce petition where they are being blamed for the breakdown of the marriage, especially as, more often than not, both parties have some element of ‘blame’.

Over the years ways have been devised to try to take the sting out of receiving a divorce petition, such as one party sending it direct to the other before it is issued by the Court, perhaps discussing it and reaching an agreement on acceptable wording.  

But this, in my opinion, only solves part of the problem and does not address the root cause: that one party has still been made responsible for the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

That is why my colleagues and I welcome the introduction of a new law that will mean parties can issue a divorce without either needing to blame the other or wait for two years. This will allow parties to separate in a less confrontational and much quicker way, allowing them to move on.

If you wish to know more then you can contact Jonathan on 01962 844333 or at j.whettingsteel@duttongregory.co.uk