Henry Hyams Assistant Family solicitor Shaista Shahnaz looks at the legislative changes to the law on divorce that were enacted from 6 April 2022
The Introduction of ‘No Fault Divorce‘
The law around divorce has changed and from 6 April 2022 permits what is known as a ‘no fault divorce’.
Under the previous law, it had to be shown that the marriage had “irretrievably broken down” and one of five facts had to be relied on to support to support the divorce – these being adultery, unreasonable behaviour, two years separation with consent, desertion, or five years separation.
Divorce is emotionally stressful and often involves negotiations and painful discussions over arrangements for children and finances. Starting the process with fault and blame can make matters more difficult for the parties involved. The element of blame has now been removed so that divorce can be applied for on the grounds that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. If parties have separated amicably, they have the option to issue divorce proceedings jointly. If however, just one party wants to divorce, they can make a single application.
There has been a change in terminology as well with the aim to modernise the language used. The first certificate in divorce was known as the Decree Nisi, but now this is known as a Conditional Divorce Order, and the Decree Absolute, which ended the marriage, is now known as the Final Divorce Order.
The process is also much simpler, but does take longer as there is a minimum time period of 26 weeks ( 6 months) from the start of the divorce, to obtaining the Final Divorce Order.
Although the law around divorce has been modernised and changed, the law in relation to finances and children remains the same. It is hoped that by changing the divorce procedure, parties can enter discussions regarding finances and children with less animosity and no longer be entrenched in a cycle and culture of blame – which can only bode for better dealings in these matters.
If you would like to discuss divorce proceedings or any matters relating to finances and children please contact a member of our Family Team for an initial discussion on how we might be able to help you.