On 9th April, it was announced that No Fault Divorce legislation would be introduced as soon as parliamentary time allows, following public consultation. Family lawyers have been pushing for this for many years because of the issues created by the blame game.
Will I Be Able to Get Divorced Quicker?
The quick answer is maybe. Let me explain. At present, the fastest way to divorce is for one spouse to accuse the other of unreasonable behaviour, adultery or desertion. If your spouse accepts the accusation, this could mean that you are divorced in 3 to 6 months.
The options for not blaming the other person mean waiting for 2 years of separation if you both agree to the divorce or 5 years if you don’t both agree. Therefore, if you do not wish to blame the other person, the minimum current timeframe is waiting 2 years and then probably around 3 months for the courts to issue the decree absolute.
Under the new legislation, there will be no requirement to blame the other spouse and there will be no ability to contest the divorce. However, the government will introduce a 6-month period of reflection, meaning that there is not the opportunity to end the marriage in 3 months as there is now.
Why Is “No Fault” Important?
When your marriage breaks down, there will be high emotions from both parties. If you have children together and they are still financially dependent, you will need to work together to co-parent them. It is much easier to co-parent and keep those emotions in check if the divorce has been amicable. It is difficult to divorce amicably if one of you is making accusations against the other, even if those accusations are true.
Thinking About the Future
You may be feeling that you deserve to be able to tell the story of what your ex did to you on the court papers. The heartache created by someone being adulterous or treating you badly will clearly create strong feelings of anger and betrayal. The new legislation doesn’t say that you shouldn’t be feeling these things. However, you need to have a future where you can co-parent your children. Apportioning blame on the divorce papers will not help you feel better and will not change what has happened in the past. However, it may continue the acrimonious relationship into the future.
The most important thing after your marriage breaks down is to start to plan for and live your future life for you. Holding on to negative emotions can get in the way of that. Try to begin to let them go and think about all the things that you want to do for you and your children to live the best life you can.
If you enjoyed reading this blog, I’m sure you will enjoy “How do I Design My New Life?”
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Tamsin Caine is a Chartered Financial Planner at Smart Divorce. She specialises in working with separating or divorcing clients to help them to understand how to divide their finances to move forward with their lives. If you would like to speak to Tamsin or find out more about how she can help, email her at Tamsin@smartdivorce.co.uk or call her on 07975 922766.