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No-fault divorces: is it game over for the divorce ‘blame game’?

A new Bill is set to end the ‘blame game’ experienced by divorcing couples.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill was first introduced back in June 2019, but came to a standstill due to Brexit discussions and the UK General Election. The proposed Bill is now expected to receive Royal assent imminently, and aims to reduce conflict in divorce by introducing a ‘no fault’ process to divorce.

What does this mean for divorcing couples?

When the law is introduced, divorcing couples will no longer need to put the ‘blame’ for the relationship ending on either party. Currently, when someone files for divorce they cite the reason and show evidence of one of five ‘facts’: adultery, behaviour, desertion, two years’ separation (if the other spouse consents), or five years’ separation (if the other spouse disagrees). This will no longer be the case, with couples able to make a statement of ‘irretrievable breakdown’. The other party will also no longer be able to contest the divorce, apart from on specific groups such as coercion or fraud.

This will be welcome news to a lot of couples, in the new process an individual will no longer need to worry about being stuck in a marriage with a difficult spouse for five years and couples ending on more friendly terms can part amicably without assigning blame.

A collaborative approach to divorce

The Government has committed to reducing the levels of harmful conflict between parties by avoiding confrontation wherever possible and reducing the potentially damaging effect it can have on children. A six-month period will be observed between filing for divorce is completed. During this time, a couple can change their minds and stop the divorce or take this time to make clear arrangements for the future – particularly when children, pets and shared property are involved.

Divorce is rarely what couples have in their life plan when initially getting married, and can be a trying time for all involved. The Family Law team at Linder Myers are all trained Collaborative Lawyers and members of Resolution, an organisation dedicated to supporting amicable approaches to separation.

If you’re considering divorce and are in need of advice, get in touch with us today for a free, confidential conversation: enquiries@lindermyers.co.uk

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