0800 731 5821

Surge in divorce cases as new No-Fault law takes effect

There has been a surge in the number of divorce applications since the new No-Fault law came into effect in April.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 aims to reduce the potential for conflict amongst divorcing couples by removing the ability to make allegations about the conduct of a spouse and allowing couples to end their marriage jointly.

Under previous law, one spouse had to allege adultery, unreasonable behaviour or desertion in order to start divorce proceedings immediately. Now they only have to state that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.

The Act also allows couples to jointly apply for a divorce, where the decision to separate is mutual.

There has to a minimum period of 20 weeks between the start of proceedings and application for conditional order. This provides couples with a meaningful period of reflection and the chance to reconsider. Where divorce is inevitable, it enables couples to cooperate and plan for the future.

It will no longer be possible to contest a divorce, except on limited grounds including jurisdiction.

Figures released by the Courts and Tribunals Service showed there were just over 3,000 applications for divorce in the week after the new law took effect. That compares with an average of about 2,000 a week over the previous year.

Analysts suggest the increase is probably down to people holding off making applications in previous weeks so they could take advantage of the new system.

The new law is a welcome development in removing much of the blame game from divorce, but couples still face having to reach a financial settlement on how marital assets should be divided and, if they have children, what kind of care and contact arrangements should be put in place.

Both these crucial subjects can be complicated and are best explored with the help of a specialist family law solicitor.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of family law.