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April saw the one year anniversary of the introduction of no fault divorce. This was a move welcomed by Resolution, the organisation for family lawyers, who campaigned vigorously for the changes. Our family lawyer and mediator Tina Day reflects on how the changes have impacted on our clients.
Prior to the changes to get divorced without a period of separation one party had to blame the other for either adultery or unreasonable behaviour. As the allegation was frequently disputed this immediately set a contentious tone to communications between a divorcing couple and their lawyers.
A no fault divorce, which should not be confused with quick or easy, means initial discussions can be far more conciliatory and constructive. Couples can file a divorce application either solely or jointly and must confirm they believe the marriage has broken down irretrievably. The application is lodged with the court via an online portal and is followed by a 20 week cooling off period.
During this time the couple can concentrate on making arrangements for their children and finances without the repercussions of the blame culture from the old process. “In my practice this has had a beneficial impact on parties as it enables professional to focus on working together as a team to find solutions rather than attaching blame from the outset” comments Tina.
Whilst the process has been simplified commencing divorce proceedings is still a big step. The cooling off period ensures the couple have a chance to reflect before their marriage is brought to an end. It also provides a window to focus on resolving financial and child arrangements.
“In my view the changes have been positive and welcomed by couples involved in divorce. Access to legal advice remains imperative to support couples in making long term decisions “ says Tina.
Glanvilles are able to provide legal advice and mediation on family law matters.
Tina can be contacted on 01329 227901 or email@example.com