Finally, on the 6th April 2022 no-fault divorces will be introduced in England and Wales. Family lawyers have been campaigning for this to happen for over 30 years, so it is a relief that we are now very nearly there.
The new law allows couples to separate without having to blame the other for the breakdown, which most family lawyers found to be unhelpful and unnecessary, whilst clients found it distressing and unnecessarily hostile.
A further change will also see the introduction of joint applications; if a couple wish to apply together.
These changes are significant. They demonstrate that often no one is to “blame” for the breakdown of the relationship, it recognises that separating couples often want the chance to separate amicably and it allows couples to work together co-operatively in a divorce for the first time. This is important for the couple’s emotional wellbeing and important if the couple wish to remain amicable for the benefit of their children.
The divorce process has also entered the brave new world of technology with the introduction of an online process. The online divorce process has been in place for some time, recognising the increased use and access to technology. It enables applications to be dealt with more quickly and with the move away from legal jargon the process has become easier for clients to understand.
All this is very good news. It is a significant and positive step forward, one which should have been taken a long time ago but which is now finally being introduced.