CHOOSING (or agreeing) to get a divorce can be a painful, life-changing decision, which is often followed by practical uncertainties about childcare, distribution of assets, and the cost of legal fees.
Under previous legislation, which had been in place for nearly 50 years, couples who applied for divorce –that is, a legal dissolution of their marriage – had to cite at least one of the following factors as the cause of their marital breakdown: unreasonable behaviour; adultery; five years of separation without consent; two years of separation with consent or desertion.
In other words, the couple had to wait at least two years either before they could get divorced or they had to attribute blame (adultery, unreasonable behaviour), where, in many cases, there was none.
A year ago today (6 April 2022), no-fault divorces were introduced, meaning divorces can be granted quicker – without either spouse having to cite blame.
In the weeks following the introduction of no-fault laws, 3,000 divorce requests were made, amounting to an average of 600 applications per day substantially higher than the year before’s average of just over 2,000 weekly applications.
Speaking to Londra Gazete to lawyer Güner Gümüş explains everything you need to know no-fualt divorces.
Gümüş states that divorce can be a traumatic experience and argues that couples deserve a system that works for them, rather than a system that forces them to write down the reasons they have to list as “plaintiffs.” This means they have to point out how extreme the behaviour of the other spouse (i.e. known as the “defendant”) for the grounds of divorce and inflames tensions between the two parties.
Another factor is the cost “Divorce can be an expensive task (the court fee is just over £500) and an extremely burdensome administrative process,” Gümüş said. “Their energies need to be emotionally supported and they need to get the support they need to cope with this big change in their lives, and they need to focus on finances and children – the practical and emotional consequences of divorce (not the historical reasons why the marriage failed).”
How does no-fault divorce work?
The new law (Divorce, Separation and Dissolution Act 2020) has been in effect since April 6, 2022. Explaining that a couple will have to wait at least 20 weeks (to give the reflection period and time to try to resolve financial issues with the children) followed by 6 weeks for the conditional order (formerly “decision order”) to be received and the final order (previously “decision finalization”) they have to wait 6 weeks again for it to be received, so potentially 6 months in total.
For the first time, a bilateral divorce application is allowed. This is important for many couples and can provide a helpful environment for a collaborative approach to childcare plans and financial issues.
“The obligation to prove one’s guilt in the event of a marriage breaking up does no one any good and can further harm an already fragile.This will allow couples to spend more time and energy determining what is best for their children (if any) and their financial situation.” Gümüş said.