A big change is coming this year to family law- the first of the no-fault divorces. With the bill outlining them being passed in June of 2020, the first no-fault divorces will be issued in Autumn of 2021, changing the nature of divorce proceedings.

There has been a very long campaign to make no-fault divorces possible. The previous legal framework used by our divorce solicitors in Guildford only issued a divorce on the grounds of wrongdoing from one of those in the couple. These intensified the already heated and confrontational nature of divorce, and even if there was a 100% cordial and mutual divorce, one party would have to accept it as their own doing. This has gone as far as individuals committing perjury to obtain a dissolution of marriage; now, this can be avoided.

A divorce settlement is not a title in the sense of achieving justice, but it is a formal disentanglement of finances, rights and responsibilities. The ideology that someone was at fault for a divorce to take place has muddied this perception for a long-time.

We have seen when assisting with divorces that there is a false idea that admitting blame will impact financially on the divorce settlement. And with ‘fault’ previously being needed and reasons for divorces including adultery and other non-criminal yet frowned upon, this belief is an understandable misconception. But, we have also learned over the years that such admissions in a family court rarely have the desired effect, and often have no impact on any financial aspect of the proceedings. So, is there really any point in appointing blame?

We always try to provide the best service to our divorce solicitors in Guildford clients in what is often a very stressful time for them, and now with the option of pursuing a divorce without having to formalise or fabricate blame is a wonderful step forward. We hope it will help and in the absence of the formally associated divorce negotiations and mediation. It will overall reduce the pressure on the courts- freeing up time minimizing costs to all involved.

At our Divorce Solicitors in Guildford, we hope we will be able to facilitate some of the first no-fault settlements before the end of this year. The pain of divorce is never going to be trivial and it is always going to be a hard process but we hope for a less tedium and calmer separations. This will allow families to move on without blame and the unnecessary trauma to any children who find themselves in the crossfire of bitter perpetrated legal proceedings between their parents.

Will all of this cheapen marriage and make divorce easier and more common?

We doubt it and believe the associated statistics will be the same as any ‘fault’ divorces that we have observed in mediation or arbitration. Just the removal of the need for blame makes mediation and arbitration go smoother. The time restoration of one year post marriage and an extended period of separation still applies to the new divorce proceedings, so they are compatible with prenuptial agreements and civil unions.