Claire, age 46, gives us her personal take on the upcoming change in divorce law
“At Last!” to quote the fabulous Etta James, the new “No Fault” legislation which comes into effect in April 2022 is like music to my ears. And I am sure many others who are going through, or have been through a divorce will be delighted with the change to the current divorce laws.
The new change in divorce law will mean that the need to “blame” the other person has been removed. In addition, parties will be able to seek a divorce prior to a period of at least 2 years separation which is currently in place.
The new divorce law will instead allow for a statement of ‘irretrievable breakdown’. This means that a joint application for divorce will be able to be made without a finger being pointed at either spouse and without having to wait for a period of separation to elapse. However, using unreasonable behaviour and adultery will no longer be possible, which may leave some feeling aggrieved. I have some close friends that will not welcome this!
From my personal experience, this is a change in legislation that I wish had been enforced for my 2 divorces, both of which we had due cause of ‘unreasonable behaviour’ filed against one of the parties. The breakdown in my first marriage was simply due to the fact that we made a mistake – we weren’t suited to each other. Nothing specific had happened, no one had an affair, there was no domestic abuse or seriously damaging behaviours, we were just not the right fit.
Fast track to my second divorce and I had to go through the same rigmarole of cherry picking some minor incident and exaggerating it to the point of near fantasy when completing the petition for divorce in a way that will satisfy a judge. My solicitor at the time opted for ‘coercion including financial control’ which was true, but when they started talking about including the 2015 ‘Counter-Terrorism and Security Act’ to give “weight” to the application, even I became concerned that my soon to be ex-husband would flip his lid… which he did.
Enter Crowther Mediation who helped us both understand that the allegations of unreasonable behaviour when completing the petition for divorce was a legal requirement. They helped us navigate the law and supported us to take steps to agree the allegation together in advance of serving the papers. This brilliantly helped us through a very difficult process and made it as amiable as possible. I can’t thank Crowther Mediation enough.