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Posts from 2022-04-06

'A long time coming': No-fault divorce law introduced in England and Wales

Previously, unless adultery, unreasonable behaviour or desertion could be proven, the only way to get divorced without the agreement of a spouse was to live separately for five years.

Divorce laws have been overhauled for the first time in 50 years, putting an end to the "blame game" for couples wishing to split amicably.


Married couples will be able to start divorce proceedings without having to appropriate the blame for the breakdown of their marriage as no-fault divorce legislation comes into force in England and Wales.


The change has been welcomed by experts who said it will aid couples to move forward and secure the best outcomes, eliminating unnecessary conflict and tension.

Previously, unless adultery, unreasonable behaviour or desertion could be proven, the only way to get divorced without the agreement of a spouse was to live separately for five years.


Sarah Gregory and her ex-husband, who she said was her "best friend and soul mate", went through the divorce system after 13 years of marriage


Ms Gregory told Sky News that what should have been a straightforward divorce ended up being complicated by the old legislation.


She said: "You were given five options and only one really was suitable for us which was the unreasonable behaviour and again it didn't really suit our needs because we simply fell out of love.

"It made things worse, knowing that one of us was going to have unreasonable behaviour on our divorce certificate. It delayed the process because it brought up some mixed feelings between us.

"We didn't have many bad things in our marriage so you're almost trying to exaggerate some of the not so nasty things that happened between us.


"I guess it just kind of created some kind of animosity between us both."

She thinks the no-fault divorce legalisation is "great" and would have made her divorce proceedings a much quicker process.


Kate Daly, the co-founder of legal services company Amicable, told Sky News: "We are delighted that the law has finally changed and that the blame game is ending.


"It's been a long time coming."


Ms Daly said that she founded Amicable after her divorce, which she described as a "train wreck" and left her financially and emotionally exhausted.


She added: "You hear so many stories of people coming out of divorce being utterly bereft with huge mental health issues, that can lead to debts and it can lead to the further breakdown of relationships within the family - whether that's extended family or whether it's the relationship between a parent and a child.


"If you have a more amicable way of approaching divorce you avoid all of those problems."


The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act (2020) also allows couples to jointly file for divorce.

Under the new legislation, one spouse contesting a divorce does not stand in the way of the other filing for divorce.


However, there are calls on the government to implement further reforms.


Former justice secretary Sir Robert Buckland told Sky News: "I very much hope that today's changes will be a milestone along the road to removing the confrontational aspect of divorce, there's still too much uncertainty about the financial arrangements that couples need to make when they separate and part, and I think more reform is needed there and generally across family courts."

source: https://news.sky.com/story/a-long-time-coming-no-fault-divorce-law-introduced-in-england-and-wales-12583282

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