“No Fault” Divorce

You may have heard that the Government have introduced a system of “no fault” divorce.

Previously since 1973 unless you were prepared to wait for 2 years, if your ex agreed or 5 years if he or she did not, it was necessary to prove that the other party had either committed adultery (which in practice required them formally to admit it); or had behaved unreasonably to the extent that you could not reasonably be expected to live with them (which increased animosity and made it harder to settle issues relating to children and finance); or had deserted you (which was in practice so complex to prove that it was almost never used).

Resolution, an organisation of specialist family law solicitors of which we are long standing members and many others campaigned for years to change this and now anyone who wants a divorce can get one provided that the courts in England and Wales have jurisdiction and that there was a valid marriage in the first place.

Almost everyone would think that this was a more sensible and indeed civilised way of going on.

But there is a but.  The law makers have introduced a compulsory waiting period of 20 weeks before an application can be made for a Conditional Order, which used to be called Decree Nisi but which is actually still the same thing.  There is then the same minimum period of 6 weeks to wait after that before an application can be made for a Final Order which used to be called Decree Absolute and is also actually still the same thing.

Does this mean that lots of people take the opportunity to change their minds within the 20 week waiting period?  So far, we have seen none.  So why is the long wait necessary?  We leave it to you to judge.

If you need anymore detailed information or are worried about issues over children or finance surrounding separation and divorce, please make an appointment with one of our family law specialists.  We offer an initial fixed fee meeting which may be all you need.

Contact us at: [email protected] or telephone for an appointment on: 01525 376611