Divorce Law

How the New No-Fault Divorce Law Will Eliminate Stigmas Associated with Marriage Dissolutions by Lisa

Separations can ‌be heart-wrenching, ⁢often resulting from a⁢ series​ of accumulated misunderstandings and⁤ disagreements. The ultimate separation, divorce, however,⁤ requires one party to be blamed. Despite being one of the most stressful life events, ‌divorce still carries ⁢a stigma. In 2020, over 103,000 divorces were recorded⁣ in England and Wales, yet the sense of failure and guilt associated with a marriage breakdown remains. ‍Currently, the fastest way to get a divorce in England and Wales involves assigning blame. The divorce law, dating back to⁣ 1969, requires‌ proof of adultery, unreasonable behaviour, or desertion. If these⁢ are not applicable, a divorce ⁤can be applied for after​ two years of separation, but it still requires the consent of the ex-partner. The only way to divorce without consent is to live separately for ‌five years. This lengthy period can hinder ⁢the ability to move on. Scotland, however, has been more progressive, ‌granting no-fault divorces after a year of separation since 2006.

The blame-based approach to divorce ​is regressive, and the government has recognised this. New “no-fault divorce” rules will be implemented in early April 2022. These rules allow for a divorce ​to ‌be filed regardless of the partner’s consent, potentially ⁣finalising the process within six months. Most of the process can be completed via email, although financial divisions will still need to be handled traditionally. This⁢ does not mean that solicitors will be replaced ⁢by automated legal bots anytime soon.

The ⁣goal of these‌ changes is to enable couples to separate without resorting to accusations and‌ blame. This allows them to focus on ending the ⁢relationship as amicably as possible. “The breakdown of a marriage is usually accompanied by complex emotions such as sadness, anger, resentment, rejection, grief, fear, and anxiety about the future,” says Graham Coy, Partner at Wilsons Solicitors LLP. “By⁤ the time couples consult a solicitor, they have usually decided that divorce ⁢is inevitable. The last thing they want is to ⁤revisit a painful past.” The journey to no-fault divorce has⁣ been over‌ a ⁣century in the making. As early ⁤as 1900, The Law Commission noted that the divorce law in England and Wales “provoked unnecessary hostility and bitterness, ‌did ⁤nothing ‍to save a marriage and made things worse for any children involved.” Coy adds, “The best approach⁣ is to end the marriage as quickly and painlessly as possible. Creating obstacles only leads to more pain and distress and serves no useful⁢ purpose.”

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