It is the news that top London divorce solicitors have been waiting for: the introduction of no fault or no blame divorce proceedings in England and Wales.
The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, David Gauke announced in Parliament planned legislation on Divorce Law reform. The announcement is the government response to a consultation on Divorce Law reform. The public consultation on Divorce Law took place from mid-September to mid-December 2018. As a result of the public consultation response, the government is proposing to remove the legal requirement to make allegations about spousal conduct in divorce petitions.
The Lord Chancellor said that whilst families are the bedrock of society, and marriage has long proved its vital importance to family stability, the Government supports Divorce Law
Mr Gauke said:
“The current law does little to reduce conflict when divorce occurs. It urgently needs reform to encourage a more conciliatory and constructive approach to undoing a marriage, and to ensure better outcomes for all those involved, and especially for children.”
The government says that it intends to bring forward Divorce Law
reform legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows. The best London divorce solicitors
are delighted that the government plans to make the divorce
process less acrimonious as that is good news for separating couples.
How can OTS Solicitors help?
London based OTS Solicitors provide advice on all aspects of family and Divorce Law
and provide pragmatic, professional advice tailored to your individual personal and financial circumstances.
Couples who are contemplating a separation
or starting divorce
proceedings might be thinking about delaying starting divorce
proceedings until the Divorce Law
reforms have been brought in. For some couples a delay in starting divorce
proceedings may not be in their interests.
Under current Divorce Law
there is no such thing as a “no fault divorce
”. If you want to get divorced in England, you have to be able to show that your marriage has “irretrievably broken down” based on one of five facts:
• Adultery; or
• Unreasonable behaviour; or
• Desertion for two years; or
for five years, in which case your spouse does not have to agree to the divorce
The top London divorce solicitors
believe that, in most cases, sensitive and experienced divorce
solicitors can minimise the animosity of starting divorce
proceedings based on adultery or unreasonable behaviour by:
• Clear advice that in most family situations the basis for the divorce
proceedings does not affect the parenting arrangements for the children or the terms of the financial settlement; and
• Sensitive drafting of the divorce
proceedings paperwork to avoid unnecessarily inflaming any acrimony between a husband and wife; and
• Focusing on the major issues that require resolution, such as the day-to-day care arrangements for the children, who will stay in the family home, and if spousal maintenance should be paid.
Accordingly, the best London divorce solicitors
say that separating couples should not be deterred from taking legal advice on starting divorce
proceedings under the current English Divorce Law
. Even though there may be an element of “blame” in the divorce
paperwork experienced divorce
solicitors should not allow that to affect how a couple separate or their parenting and financial choices.
• Remove the ability of one spouse to contest or oppose a divorce
• Make “irretrievable breakdown of a marriage” the sole ground for divorce
with no need to prove one of the current five “facts”, such as unreasonable behaviour or adultery. Instead the spouse seeking the divorce
will need to provide a statement of irretrievable breakdown;
• Retain the two-stage divorce
process of the decree nisi and the decree absolute;
• Ensure that there is a minimum timeframe of six months from start of the divorce
petition stage to final decree absolute of divorce
. This period is to ensure couples do not get divorced quickly, without appreciating the finality of their decision to divorce
and to give time for reflection;
• Allow couples to jointly start divorce
proceedings should they chose to do so.
Many organizations, including Resolution (the national organization of family and divorce
lawyers) have campaigned for a change in Divorce Law
. The campaign for change received more public support after the widely publicised case of Tini Owens.
Ms Owens, age 68, wanted to divorce
her husband. Her husband objected and the Supreme Court said that, as she could not prove adultery or unreasonable behaviour, she could not get divorced. Ms Owens has to wait five years from the date of separation
from her husband before she can apply for a divorce
. Ms Owens can start fresh divorce
proceedings in 2020.
To many in the public and media it seemed bizarre that in the 21st century Ms Owens could be kept in limbo until 2020, and unable to resolve financial matters arising from her separation
, until she is able to start divorce
proceedings based on the fact of five years separation
. Ms Owens can be kept in financial limbo because the family court does not have the power to make full financial settlement orders until either a husband or a wife start divorce
The government has said the new law will be introduced as soon as possible, when parliamentary time allows.
The government has also said that any Divorce Law
reform will also cover dissolution of civil partnership proceedings to ensure that dissolution proceedings are also reformed and consistent with new divorce
Should you delay your divorce?
Some couples ask if they should delay a divorce
in order to divorce
on the fact of two years separation
with consent, rather than get divorced now and have to cite adultery or unreasonable behaviour. Top London divorce solicitors
anticipate that with the news of planned Divorce Law
reform couples will question whether they should wait for the new legislation before starting divorce
• Starting divorce
proceedings on the basis of adultery or unreasonable behaviour does not have to increase animosity if there is a clear explanation of why you are having to include allegations in a petition as a “means to an end”;
• For some couples, and their children, delaying divorce
proceedings can give a confused message about the possibility of a reconciliation, leaving the family in “limbo” for longer;
• In some situations, it is important to start divorce
proceedings quickly. For example, if you fear that your spouse could start divorce
proceedings in another country or you are concerned that a delay in starting divorce
proceedings could increase or reduce the amount of any eventual financial settlement. For example, a business could grow in value or there could be a risk of a spouse being made bankrupt or receiving a pension lump sum and spending it.
The best London divorce solicitors
recommend that separating couples take advice on the best option for them when it comes to the timing of divorce
proceedings and to choose their divorce
solicitors with care to avoid a war of words about the divorce
petition, when the focus should be on children and their financial future.
How can OTS Solicitors help?
London based OTS Solicitors provide advice on all aspects of family law and have particular experience in international divorce cases because of their Immigration law expertise and global client base.
OTS Solicitors provide specialist divorce and family law advice tailored to individual personal and financial circumstances. The aim of the family law team at OTS Solicitors is to try to make sure that your separation or divorce is kept as amicable as possible. That keeps your legal costs down and helps you and the family cope with the relationship breakdown.
Please get in touch with us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to speak to one of our experienced London divorce solicitors who will be happy to help you.