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“…it’s not your fault, but it’s not my fault either”

After much delay, the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 will come into force on 6 April 2022. This will allow you to divorce without having to blame your spouse for the breakdown of the relationship.

Current divorce process

At present, you must satisfy the court that one of the following five facts has occurred:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour and you cannot live with them anymore
  • Desertion of at least 2 years
  • 2-year separation – with consent
  • 5-year separation

Each fact above, save for 2-year separation with consent and 5 years separation, contain an element of blame. 

Preparing a divorce application can be a very emotional time. For some, this usually results in including many unnecessary allegations within your divorce application, leading your spouse to feel offended. Your spouse is likely to become defensive and choose to be confrontational which may delay your divorce and other matters relating to your separation, e.g. financial matters and child arrangements. Others do not wish to include any bad behaviours of their spouse in fear of matters protracting but have no choice but to as there may be no other option available to them to obtain a divorce. 

New divorce process

The new divorce application will simply say “the marriage has irretrievably broken down”. No further reasons would be required from the couple and the divorce can proceed without having to rely on one of the five facts listed above or lay blame.

It is hoped that with couples not having to blame each other, this will allow an extremely stressful time to become less stressful and more tolerable. The option of contesting the divorce will also be removed and it is envisaged that this also will assist in removing the confrontational part of the process. You are even given the choice to make a joint application with your spouse rather than one divorcing the other. 

The new divorce process will have a minimum of 20-weeks between when the application is made and the divorce being finalised. This time period is referred to the “Period of Reflection” and it is intended for couples to take this opportunity to reflect and use the time to agree practical arrangements for their future.

It is expected there will be a large influx of divorce applications to be submitted in April 2022 as many have been waiting and continue to wait to issue a “no-fault divorce”. There are likely to be delays from the court as they deal with this influx. If your spouse is agreeable to the divorce and you are keen to have your divorce finalised as soon as possible, you may wish to consider seeking advice early rather than joining the queue in April. 

Legal Advice

It is imperative to obtain legal advice from an early stage of your separation to protect your interests now and in the future. You will also understand the process and will be able to make informed decisions on how to proceed with your separation. Please contact me, Inayah Habib, to discuss your separation matter and how I can help you on 0121 725 5527 or I.Habib@qsdavisons.com.

Posted in: Divorce

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