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 Fault-Free Divorce – at last!
Emma Alfieri from Greene & Greene explains more about the new divorce law
After many years of campaigning, finally on 6 April 2022, the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 came into force.
The new law is long-awaited and very welcome news for family law professionals who consider that the previous divorce law was outdated and no longer fit for purpose. The introduction of the new law revolutionised divorce law in England & Wales and allows married couples to now divorce without assigning blame.
The previous law, which dated back to 1973, was almost 50 years old and as a result, prior to the new law coming into effect couples seeking a divorce had to either spend a minimum of two years separated or one party had to blame the other for the marriage breakdown. That party had to cite adultery or unreasonable behaviour which more often than not only increased animosity between separating couples. Even if both parties mutually agreed the relationship was over, they still had to apportion blame if they wanted to avoid the two-year waiting period.
Other benefits of the new law mean that:
1. Couples can apply jointly for a divorce (as well as separately).
2. The new law removes the requirement to provide ‘reasons’ or ‘ particulars’ as to why the marriage has broken down.
3. The new law removes the possibility to ‘contest’ a divorce.
It is hoped the new law will encourage a modern, forward-thinking, non-confrontational approach wherever possible, thereby reducing conflict and its damaging effect, particularly on children.
The family courts have also recently modernised their approach to obtaining a divorce, which can now be obtained online at www.gov.uk/divorce. There is a court fee payable of £593 although individuals may be able to get help with fees if they are on benefits or on a low income.
While it is possible to obtain a divorce online, I strongly advise anyone going
through divorce to take advice regarding their legal position. Divorce itself is just one element of the process, which is separate from dividing the finances or agreeing matters in relation to the children. Therefore, legal advice can be invaluable.
Emma Alfieri is part of the Family Team at Greene & Greene which is praised by clients in the latest Legal 500 [UK 2021 edition] as “the quality of advice, attention to detail and personal approach rivals top firms in London.” She has a wealth of experience advising clients throughout Suffolk and Norfolk on family and matrimonial matters. Based at Greene and Greene’s Bury St Edmunds office, Emma is well-placed to support clients throughout the local area or virtual meetings can be arranged.
This article is correct at the time of writing. If you are considering a separation and would like to discuss any of the areas highlighted
in this article, please contact Emma on 01284 717459 or emmaalfieri@greene-greene.com
ISSUE 92 JULY/AUGUST 2022 63
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