It is now only weeks away until the long awaited divorce reforms take effect on 6 April 2022.
These reforms are the most significant in 50 years and it is anticipated that the no fault divorce will make the process less acrimonious and more dignified for the many (approx. 100,000) couples who divorce each year. The rules also apply to civil partnership dissolution.
If you are thinking about starting divorce proceedings you may decide to wait until the 6 April when the only reason for divorce is Irretrievable Breakdown. Either party can apply for divorce or both parties can do so jointly without having to apportion blame as is now the case.
Whereas under current rules the divorce petition can be contested causing delays and complications this will no longer be possible except in exceptional circumstances such as the validity of the marriage or the jurisdiction of law. Currently difficulties also arise where one party no longer wants to be in the marriage/partnership but the other party refuses to accept it is over.
The intention of the reforms is to remove the animosity surrounding the blame or fault requirement which has often led to conflict causing the divorce to become acrimonious making an already difficult situation worse.
The language of divorce will also change whereby the current Decree Nisi now becomes a Conditional Order and the final stage, currently Decree Absolute becomes the Final Order.
The time span of the divorce will also change with a minimum of 20 weeks from the application for a Divorce and the granting of a Conditional Order. There will then be a further six weeks between the Conditional Order and the Final Order. The initial 20 weeks is to allow couples the opportunity to reconsider and ensure that it is what they really want and are absolutely certain that the marriage is over before taking the irrevocable step. This is, of course, the fastest time the divorce can be accomplished but this may change due to court backlogs and procedural delays.
The new rules apply only to the divorce itself and do not alter the process for the financial settlement nor in issues surrounding any children both of which are vital aspects of any divorce. Early legal advice should be taken so that you are fully aware of the options and likely outcomes to ensure you can move on with your life in a financially secure manner.
It is anticipated that the divorce will be more amicable which is essential where children are concerned as both parents need to have a continuing relationship to deal with their future arrangements as separated parents and the best interests of the child must always be the paramount objective.
For advice on all aspects of family law or to make an appointment please email or telephone 01279 799598.
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