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End of the ‘blame game’ in sight

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8th April, 2022

There are significant changes that have been made to divorce law and procedure in England and Wales with the introduction of no-fault divorce as of 6 April 2022.

This has ended the ‘blame game’ for couples seeking to terminate their marriage or civil partnership as neither party will need to apportion blame to obtain a divorce or dissolution.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 is welcome new legislation which has reformed parts of the existing law to provide the new no fault basis upon which to divorce.

Under the previous law, to apply for a divorce, one needed to evidence the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage by way of adultery, unreasonable behaviour, 2 years’ separation with consent, 5 years separation or desertion. To divorce immediately, one needed to allege the other’s adultery or unreasonable behaviour which has meant that the concept of blame has been difficult to escape.

The new law provides that instead there now be just a ‘statement of irretrievable breakdown’ without any element of blame required. Along with the mandatory use of online divorce applications via the Gov.uk website, it will now be easier for individuals to navigate the divorce process themselves without the need of legal assistance, although the more difficult issues relating to children and money will be unaffected by the new law and procedure. It is vital for individuals to understand that divorce only ends the marriage and the final order of divorce does not resolve financial claims arising from the marriage nor any arrangements in respect of children upon which legal assistance may be required.

Despite all the benefits of new divorce law, there are also expected to be issues in its implementation and which are likely to require individuals to seek legal advice as a result.

Please contact Katie Hughes-Beddows at Aaron & Partners Solicitors for further advice and assistance.

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