An Amicable Divorce?
Whatever your personal circumstances, if you have decided to get divorced you will no doubt want to try to resolve things as amicably and cost effectively as possible
Helen Lucking, head of family at Napthens, looks at changes to the divorce law which finally came into effect on 6th April 2022. This law, often called no-fault or amicable divorce, allows couples to start divorce proceedings without having to blame the other person.
The divorce process has already been made much easier as you can apply online using a simple form. The Courts have been dealing with divorce applications relatively quickly recently, with the process taking about four months from start to finish. However, we anticipate an increase in the number of people getting divorced from April 2022 which will no doubt cause some delays.
What changes does the new law bring?
The new law promises to end the blame game between couples. The process will be instigated with a statement that the marriage has irrevocably broken down and in fact, couples can apply for divorce jointly should they wish. It is hoped this new process will reduce hostilities, improving the situation for all concerned during a turbulent time, particularly where children involved.
It will no longer be possible to contest a divorce. There will be a minimum period of 20 weeks for couples to “reflect” before committing to divorce, followed by a further six weeks before divorce is finalised. Couples should be aware, however, that it is very unlikely issues relating to finances and children will be resolved within this same period.
If you are contemplating divorce, it is worthwhile spending time in advance to gather all the information you will need. Find your marriage certificate and make sure that you have the correct postal address and email address for your husband/wife. Take a look at how much the court fee is and whether you may be eligible to claim an exemption or a reduction in the fee. You can do these things in advance so that when the time comes you are ready to make the application.
If you want the assistance of a solicitor, then arrange an appointment as soon as possible so they are aware of your situation and what you want to achieve. It is worthwhile getting your “ducks in a row” so that you are ready to go when the time comes. But please remember that the divorce is simply the dissolution of the marriage. Financial issues still need to be addressed – and this is where complications can arise.
Contact a member of our family law team to discuss your circumstances and take specialist legal advice before you take steps to resolve financial issues.
Helen Lucking is a Partner and Head of Family & Divorce at regional law firm Napthens