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No Fault Divorce one year on

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Last April ‘No-Fault Divorce Law’ came into force, marking the biggest change to divorce law in decades. A year on, our divorce solicitors reflect on how the new process has been received by clients and how it’s working in practice.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 allowed no fault divorce to come into force meaning archaic family laws were changed and the blame game in divorce could end.

No Fault Divorce Figures

Initially it seemed couples had waited for no-fault divorce as to start with over 3,000 divorce requests were being made nationally every week, that’s an average of 600 applications a day and is quite a lot higher than the year before’ average of just over 2,000 weekly applications.

The latest data shows that in the nine months from when the new law came into effect, there were 89,123 divorce applications, of these 78% were from sole applicants and 22% from joint applicants, including those for the dissolution of civil partnerships.

In comparison prior to the ‘no-fault divorce’ laws changing there were 77,449 divorce applications between April 2021 to December 2021,

Couples can now simply cite the ‘irretrievable breakdown’ of their marriage as a reason for divorcing.

“Over the past year we have seen some clients welcome the more non combative approach, but of course we are also always here for those who still need their day in court” said Divorce and Family Solicitor, Lucinda McWatt.

However, no-fault divorce has enabled those whose marriage has simply run its course to take control and get on with their lives without the grief of an acrimonious divorce and needing to blame someone. Whilst most applications come from one party who initiates and takes control of the situation, moving forward we could see joint applications in this way.”

"The non acrimonious system allows couples to no longer focus on why the marriage has not worked in the past, but simply draw a line in the sand and focus on the future, their children, if they have any, and also importantly take time to look at finances, pension sharing and the practical consequences of the split,” added Lucinda McWatt.

It is important to make you get good legal advice from a professional solicitor and not be tempted to go it alone online to save money.  Financial orders and pension sharing agreements are crucial to couples moving on from divorce and without such orders in place there can be no clean break.

How long does a No Fault divorce take

On average the no fault divorce process is now taking seven months, however it can be longer if the finances still need resolving.

“In some circumstances we advise against applying for the Final Order until the finances are resolved,” added Lucinda.

“The right to claim financial provision doesn’t end on divorce and can remain open and as such a client can be vulnerable from a claim from an ex-spouse in the future.

“It is so important to get good advice given the implications it can have on the finances. For example when you divorce you lose the spouses element of your spouses pension. If you haven’t secured a pension sharing order first you could lose the pension altogether,” warned Lucinda.

How can we help

If you need legal advice on your divorce, finances and pensions our divorce solicitors have expert knowledge of this area of the law. Contact us today on 0161 785 3500

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

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    Written by Lucinda McWatt