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New No Fault Divorce – where are we now?

no fault divorce

No Fault Divorce has now been the new norm since April 2022, now we are 5 months on – what do we know?

Prior to the change in Divorce Law there was some speculation that this would increase the divorce rate, and it appears from the Ministry of Justice Court statistics that this is the case, there were 33,566 new divorce applications (of which 33,234 were under the new law) from April to June 2022, most of which were from sole applicants rather than joint applications. This is up 22% from the 2021 figures. However, Decree Absolutes (the final Order in Divorce under the old law) were down 35% in the same quarter, which is likely to be caused by the backlog in the Court system which have not been resolved.

Does this mean that there is an increase in marriage breakdown and the fears that making it easier to divorce would dilute the importance of marriage and would not help couples to reconcile? Only time will tell however, it is probably more likely that couples who were contemplating separating and divorcing decided to wait until the change in divorce law as they wished to enter into a more amicable conscious uncoupling which would assist with co-parenting of children. The new divorce law does allow for a six-month period of reflection after commencing the divorce application before the first stage, Conditional Order can be applied for. If couples are adamant that they do wish to proceed with the divorce, this time can be used to negotiate a financial settlement but may allow couples who question if they wish to finalise their divorce can use this time to reflect on this together. I know that I have represented clients in that situation, who despite their marriage not working they wished to remain amicable and to be friends despite the separation.

If you would like to speak to speak to our Family Law team, please call 01256 320 555 or email: mail@clarkeandson.co.uk.

Jennifer Lee

Assistant Family Solicitor

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