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

No-fault divorce sees the end of the blame game

Divorce law in England and Wales has undergone the biggest shake-up in 50 years thanks to the introduction of no-fault divorce, leading to a scramble in enquiries to law firms.

As of Wednesday 6 April, any couple seeking a divorce will simply apply and will no longer have to blame the end of the marriage on one spouse.

The change ends the ‘blame game’ which was previously at the heart of divorce law in England and Wales.

Ahead of the changes coming into force, a scramble for enquiries to law firms about divorce has been reported.

It is believed that some couples rushed to start proceedings under the old rules as some believe that blaming a spouse for the breakdown of a marriage will improve their financial or custody settlement.

On the other hand, the introduction of a no-fault divorce could see a surge in applications as couples no longer have to play the blame game and can start the process together, without the need for animosity.

It is hoped that the change will ease the emotional turmoil of the process and remove conflict from divorce.

Partners will also be stopped from trapping their spouse in a loveless or even violent marriage under the reforms, as previously abusers could contest a divorce.

Under the previous law, a couple had to give a reason for the end of their marriage such as adultery or unreasonable behaviour or they had to live apart for two or five years before a divorce could be granted.

Under the new rules, a spouse or the couple jointly, can apply for a divorce by stating their marriage has broken down irretrievably.

A new minimum timeframe of 20 weeks has been introduced between the start of proceedings and the conditional order of divorce being granted. It is hoped this will give couples time to either repair their marriage or make plans for their children and finances.

Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Dominic Raab said: “The breakdown of a marriage can be agonising for all involved, especially children.

“We want to reduce the acrimony couples endure and end the anguish that children suffer.

“That’s why we are allowing couples to apply for divorce without having to prove fault, ending the blame game, where a marriage has broken down irretrievably, and enabling couples to move on with their lives without the bitter wrangling of an adversarial divorce process.”

For expert advice on divorce, contact our family law team today.

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