Under the current law, unless a separated couple were willing to wait two years from the date of separation before petitioning for divorce, they would have to give a reason why the marriage (or civil partnership) had broken down. The effect of this was that one party had to ‘blame’ the other, often by relying on their partner’s unreasonable behaviour or adultery.
This requirement has long been criticised as causing unnecessary hostility in situations which might otherwise be amicable. It is widely considered that having to attribute blame in this way causes preventable, negative impact on the children of the relationship, other family members and has a knock- on effect to the parties’ conduct when settling their financial affairs.
In June a new law was passed by Parliament which removes the need for parties to blame each other for the relationship breaking down irretrievably. This has been termed “no-fault divorce”, and it also allows parties to apply jointly for their divorce.
This change in the law has been long sought after and will help many couples resolve their affairs on more amicable terms, minimising conflict, stress and cost for all involved.
The suggestion from the Government is that the new law will be implemented in Autumn 2021. Until then, no fault divorce will not be an option available to couples who want a divorce without waiting 2 years. However, we will keep a close eye on developments and provide further updates on when couples can begin a no-fault divorce.
The Family team at Burnetts take a non-confrontational, constructive approach to helping our clients through separation and we welcome this development in the law.
If you would like to speak to someone within or Family team please contact our offices on 01228 552222 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.