In April of this year, the law on divorce is set to change. ‘No fault divorce’ will allow couples to divorce without having to cite blame. They will no longer need to rely on one of the 5 facts (behaviour, adultery, 5 years separation, 2 years separation with consent, desertion). This change hopes to reduce conflict and encourage amicability during an understandably stressful time for couples.
However – this change in law does not come without its misconceptions. We have explained and clarified 3 of the most common divorce myths below –
1. The no blame aspect means the divorce will be quick
There is unfortunately no such thing as a ‘quickie’ divorce. Under the current law, there is a 6 week and 1 day waiting period between the Decree Nisi (second stage of divorce,) and the Decree Absolute (final divorce stage). The rationale behind this is to encourage the parties to reflect on their decision to divorce.
Under the new law, this is still encouraged. Parties are to wait 20 weeks from filing their divorce petition to being able to proceed with an application for the Decree Nisi. Once this period is up, the Applicant will need to confirm they want to proceed with the divorce. Therefore – the new framework will not ‘speed’ divorces up, however it does provide for a more amicable end to marriage.
2. No fault divorce will always be cheaper
Not necessarily – removing the blame aspect does not make the divorce process any shorter or necessarily cheaper. Ultimately, it is the parties’ behaviour during the process which determines how long the process may take. When the parties remain amicable, there are less likely to be disagreements, and therefore fewer delays as a result.
3. Only one person can apply for a divorce
Under the current legal framework, only one person, namely the ‘Petitioner’ can apply for the divorce. However, under the new law due to take effect in April 2022, couples can jointly apply for divorce. And as the need for blame has been removed, there is now no option for the other party to contest the divorce application.
Other changes to the law include updated terminology. The ‘divorce petition,’ which is the initial Court document by which an application is made, will be referred to as the ‘divorce application,’ and the ‘petitioner,’ or party initiating divorce proceedings, will be known as the ‘applicant.’ The ‘Decree Nisi,’ which is the second stage of divorce, will be known as the ‘Conditional Order,’ and the ‘Decree Absolute,’ currently the final stage in divorce proceedings, will be known as the ‘Final Order.’ The 2 stages of divorce remain; however, the names will change.
If you would like advice on no-fault divorce, contact the Family Team on 0161 624 6811. Our experienced legal team will ensure the divorce process is as least stressful as possible for you, with guidance and regular updates along the way. Our divorce solicitors are members of Resolution (an organisation committed to collaborative problem-solving in family proceedings). This means we will ensure your divorce is handled in a non-confrontational, efficient, and smooth manner.