The option to claim a ‘no fault’ divorce suffered a set back yesterday, with the announcement in Parliament that the expected rollout for the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2022 has now been pushed back to 6 April 2022.
But while the date is later than anticipated, yesterday’s news shouldn’t deter couples looking to separate from seeking advice now as there are other ways to settle a divorce amicably, says Elizabeth Harris-Clark, a solicitor with our Family law team.
The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2022, which already has Royal Assent, is the biggest reform of divorce law in 50 years and it will help couples split with less conflict thanks to the inclusion of the ‘no fault’ option.
At the moment one spouse must allege adultery or unreasonable behaviour by the other or wait two years to start divorce proceedings. Until divorce proceedings have begun, financial issues cannot be resolved with any finality, so people often have no choice but to get started immediately.
Although the introduction of a ‘no fault’ divorce is a very welcome reform, there are ways that separating couples can deal with matters amicably now, such as engaging with mediation, collaborative law or by entering into early sensible discussions via solicitors.
In fact, with the assistance of a solicitor, separating spouses can work together amicably to agree the terms and particulars of their divorce on an unreasonable behaviour petition. This reduces unnecessary animosity and can help couples get divorced without waiting two years.
With the 6 April 2022 implementation date fixed as a matter of Parliamentary record, we all have a clear date to work towards for the introduction of the new Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2022. But in the meantime, couples looking to divorce should not wait to take action.
For further advice on no-fault divorce and other family matters please contact Elizabeth using the details below.