Will Amicable Divorce Rates Rise With New No Fault Divorce Legislation?

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New legislation for no fault divorce is coming in April 2022. Could it make things easier for older separating spouses?

The introduction of a no fault divorce in April 2022 will mean not having to rely on fault, blame or wrong-doing to legally end a marriage.

As the law currently stands, a petitioner is required to rely on one of the following five facts to prove to the Court that the marriage has irretrievably broken down:

  1. Adultery
  2. Unreasonable behaviour
  3. Two years' separation with consent
  4. Five years' separation
  5. Desertion

In the event you have not been separated for two years or more, as the law currently stands, a petitioner has to rely on one of the two fault-based facts to present a divorce petition to the Court.  This can cause unnecessary conflict, particularly for older couples who may have been married for some time, who have simply fallen out of love but remain good friends and want to go through the divorce process as amicably and as smoothly as possible. 

Our legal partner Slater and Gordon’s expert divorce lawyers can provide all the advice and guidance you need if you are considering a no fault divorce, and can help you prepare in advance of the new legislation coming into play.  Book your 30 minute free consultation today.

What is a “No Fault” Divorce?

No fault divorce has the potential to bring about big changes to the divorce process, including less conflict between parties involved.

What benefits will the new law bring, particularly for older spouses?

  • Spouses will not have to rely on the fault-based facts of unreasonable behaviour or adultery to get divorced, if they have not been separated for two years or more and can instead get divorced without blame
  • There's more chance of the divorce progressing amicably; avoiding a lengthy stressful battle
  • There'll be less emotional damage inflicted on children/grandchildren
  • It will provide both parties with more time to focus on resolving the financial aspects of their divorce– which is paramount for older couples due to the accumulation of their assets and reaching retirement

What does the new no-fault divorce law propose?

The law will introduce some fundamental improvements, including:

  • Irretrievable breakdown of a marriage will no longer be the sole ground for a divorce
  • Complex legal jargon will be removed within the divorce process so that it is accessible and easy to understand for couples
  • The need for facts and evidence will be replaced with a statement of irretrievable breakdown
  • The opportunity to contest the divorce will be removed but there would still be some legal grounds for challenging the divorce if needed
  • There will be a choice of a joint application for divorce as well as the option for one party to initiate the process
  • A minimum timeframe of 6-months will be introduced from the initial petition stage to final divorce. This means couples will have a period of reflection if they wish to ensure they are making the right decision as well as plenty of time to put plans into place

Current divorce legislation can cause conflict between spouses

The current rules can fuel conflict between spouses, by forcing one party to blame the other if they do not want to wait two years or more before obtaining a divorce. This is particularly difficult with older couples that may have been together for a long time, and would like to remain friends following divorce, particularly where children and grandchildren are involved.  The new legislation aims to remove conflict from the process. 

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