Emma Alfieri, member of the family team at Greene & Greene, considers fault free divorce with the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 due to come into force on 6th April 2022.
After many years of campaigning, the new law is long awaited and very welcome news for family law professionals who consider that the current divorce law is outdated and no longer fit for purpose. The law will revolutionise divorce law in England & Wales and will allow married couples to divorce without assigning blame.
The current law is almost 50 years old, dating back to 1973, and as a result couples seeking a divorce must either spend a minimum of two years separated or one must blame the other for the marriage breakdown, citing adultery or unreasonable behaviour which more often than not only serves to increase animosity between separating couples. Even if the couple mutually agree the relationship is over, the only way to avoid the two-year waiting period is to apportion blame.
The new law also includes other benefits, including:
- A couple can apply jointly for a divorce (as well as separately).
- It removes the requirement to provide ‘particulars’ or ‘reasons’ as to why the marriage has broken down.
- The new law removes the possibility to ‘contest’ a divorce.
The hope is that the new law will encourage a forward-thinking, non-confrontational and modern approach wherever possible, thereby reducing conflict and its damaging effect on children in particular.
The family courts have also recently modernised their approach to obtaining a divorce, which can now be obtained on-line at www.gov.uk/divorce. There is a court fee payable of £593 although individuals may be able to get help with fees if they are on benefits or on a low income.
While it is possible to obtain a divorce online, anyone going through divorce is strongly advised to take advice regarding their legal position. The divorce itself is just one element of the process, dividing the finances or agreeing matters in relation to the children are also separate elements to consider.
Emma Alfieri is part of the Family Team at Greene & Greene which is praised by clients in the latest Legal 500 [UK 2021 edition] as ‘the quality of advice, attention to detail and personal approach rivals top firms in London’. She has a wealth of experience advising clients throughout Suffolk and Norfolk on family and matrimonial matters. Based at Greene and Greene’s Bury St Edmunds office Emma is well placed to support clients throughout the local area or virtual meetings can be arranged.
This article is correct at the time of writing. If you are considering a separation and would like to discuss any of the areas highlighted in this article, please contact Emma on 01284 717459 or firstname.lastname@example.org