To obtain a divorce the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage must be demonstrated using one of five criteria, or “facts”. These include adultery, unreasonable behaviour and separation.
Expected in autumn 2021, new legislation aims to replace the ‘five facts’ with a simple statement of irretrievable breakdown, without assigning blame to the other party. The legislation removes the possibility of contesting the divorce in most cases, and allows couples to apply for a divorce jointly. These changes will also apply to the dissolution of civil partnerships. A cooling off period will be included for couples to re-consider their decision.
No-fault divorce is designed to minimise the conflict surrounding relationship breakdown. This is particularly important where there are children involved, as parties need to work together following the divorce in order to care for the children. Accusation and blame only antagonise matters, and can have a harmful effect on a child’s upbringing.
The proposals are a positive move but for anyone ready to divorce now there is little to be gained by waiting. The fault based system is now mostly symbolic and need not affect the financial settlement or child arrangements.
It can be stressful and complicated when relationships break down. Bretherton Law’s experienced Family and Child Law Solicitors have been helping people with changes in their circumstances for over 50 years. We are members of Resolution and Accredited in Family and Child Law by the Law Society. For honest, sympathetic advice call Emma Copeland or Atifha Aftab on 01727 869293, or make an appointment via the form below.