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Read more articles in: Blog, Family Law, Stuart Daniel

Lack of take-up on joint divorce applications since new provisions in April

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act introduced a new provision in April, whereby divorcing couples could jointly apply for divorce and state that their marriage broke down irretrievably.

Previously, it had to be proven that the marriage had broken down due to unreasonable behaviour or desertion or adultery. If this did not apply, there was a significant waiting time of 2 or 5 years before the divorce proceedings could begin.

The change in the law was expected to improve the process of divorce in a bid to lessen ‘unnecessary finger-pointing and acrimony’ according to The Ministry of Justice.

But Government figures have shown sole applications for divorce are still dominating with 10,312 sole applications in May compared with 2,748 joint applications in that month.

What are the potential benefits of joint divorce applications?

For many people, a joint no-fault divorce might not be appropriate.

But if the divorce is the result of a mutual decision arrived at over time, it may be something to consider.

With sole applications, divorce can come as a shock to one person. Even if it is expected, it can take some people longer to process it emotionally.

If you and your ex-partner decide to apply for a divorce together, you can ensure that you are both ready for the emotional toll that it can take.

Equally, with joint divorces, both you and your ex-partner will be taking responsibility for the divorce and this can create a more amicable environment for any children you may have or other family members who can be affected by divorce.

It will also mean you can split the cost of the divorce application between you.

By not needing to hold one person responsible, the process could be quicker and take away some stress from a complex and difficult situation.

 What about sole applications?

In other circumstances, sole applications may suit your situation more.

It means you can decide on your own terms that a divorce is the best option without having to come to an agreement with your ex-partner.

Some may find it validating and helpful to start the process themselves if there is a specific reason to divorce such as unfaithfulness.

It can create a sense of closure for many, so it is something to consider if your situation does not suit a joint application.

A solicitor can advise you during divorce proceedings, whether it is a joint or sole application.

 For more advice on this topic, contact us today.


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