Changes to Divorce Law – The end of the blame game?

Did you know divorce law in England and Wales is changing?

Has your relationship broken down because you have just fallen out of love and you want to bring your marriage to an end amicably and with dignity? Well, this is set to become much easier with a change in the law.

After many years of campaigning by family law solicitors, the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill received Royal Assent in June 2020.

This is the biggest change in divorce law in decades and is welcomed by family lawyers.

No longer will divorcing couples have to lay blame on the other party for the breakdown of the marriage. Good news we think.

Currently, regardless of whether it is a mutual decision of the parties to separate, the law requires one party to make accusations about conduct of the other such as adultery or “unreasonable behaviour” or otherwise rely on long periods of separation.  This can create unnecessary hostilities between parties making it difficult to mutually agree other issues between them such as child arrangements and financial settlements.

The new law, anticipated to be effective in the autumn of 2021 will allow parties to divorce by making a statement of irretrievable breakdown. There will be a new period of 6 months as a minimum timeframe from the initial application stage to the granting of the divorce. This period is to allow parties to reflect and consider reconciliation and seek to agree arrangements for the future such as looking after any children.

Family lawyers will be better able to support clients to separate amicably and deal with issues, such as the children, constructively.  This change is welcomed by all in the family team at Josiah Hincks.

In my experience the blame culture of divorce proceedings can detrimentally impact on arrangements for children and so it is hoped that once effected the new law will ease resolution of all issues between divorcing couples.  In the current position, people can easily lose focus and become entrenched in unnecessary hostilities because of the particulars of behaviour set out in a divorce petition which can naturally be upsetting.

At Josiah Hincks our family team are all members of Resolution and bound by a code of practice to deal with matters in a constructive and conciliatory manner.  We can help you bring your marriage to an end without hostility and help you to agree all matters including arrangements for children and financial arrangements, focusing on the issues that are important to you individually.  We can go through all the options with you allowing you to make an informed decision on what is right for you in your circumstances.

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Divorce law






Dawn Salter | Family Solicitor