The introduction of no-fault divorce has unfortunately been delayed until 6 April 2022.
This will understandably be disappointing to many people who have been waiting for the law to come into force since the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act was passed in 2020.
Why has no-fault divorce been delayed?
The government states that the original Autumn 2021 target for the introduction of no-fault divorce was always ‘ambitious’, particularly as divorce law has not been significantly changed in 50 years.
The changes that need to be made include:
- Amendments to court rules
- New practice directions for people bringing and defending divorce claims
- The implementation of a new online digital divorce service
As well as identifying changes that need to be made to the divorce system, the proposed changes need to be consulted on (this is the stage the government is currently at) and tested before they are introduced for everyone.
Chris Philp MP stated this week that, “the Ministry of Justice is committed to ensuring that the amended digital service allows for the smooth transition from the existing service which has reformed the way divorce is administered in the courts and improved the service received by divorcing couples at a traumatic point in their lives.
“Following detailed design work, it is now clear that these amendments, along with the full and rigorous testing of the new system ahead of implementation, will not conclude before the end of the year.”
Is it worth waiting until no-fault divorce comes in to get a divorce or civil partnership dissolution?
Although a new target date of 6 April 2022 has been set, there is no guarantee that the government will also be able to meet this target.
Our experienced divorce solicitors tend to recommend that it is not worth waiting for no-fault divorce to come in. It is important to put your needs and the needs of your children first. So, if divorce or dissolution is right for your family and there is no significant risk of dispute arising over the divorce or dissolution application itself, it is usually best to go ahead with it.
If you are worried about disputes arising over the division of money and property or arrangements for your children, we recommend you get in touch with us for friendly, practical advice. These problems can arise whether you wait for no-fault divorce or not.
We offer a free initial consultation to new clients to talk about what you need and how we can help. There is no obligation to move forwards with your divorce or dissolution if you decide after this consultation that you would rather wait.
A focus on alternative dispute resolution in the meantime
No-fault divorce may still be a while off, but this does not mean that separation needs to be full of conflict.
The government has said that it is still committed to signposting families to alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation, and has even introduced a Family Mediation Voucher Scheme which will provide up to £500 on a first-come-first-serve basis for people to put towards the costs of mediation in some family law cases.
At Crisp & Co, we are also committed to helping families find positive solutions to their problems without having to go to court. Our team includes a qualified mediator and several collaborative lawyers who can support families through divorce and separation.
Both mediation and collaborative law can be great for resolving a wide range of issues, from how to divide money and property to agreeing childcare and making a co-parenting plan.
Do you need advice about no-fault divorce?
Our dedicated firm of family law solicitors specialise in all types of family law matter, from straightforward separations to complicated high-conflict divorce proceedings.
We are members of the Law Society Family Law Advanced Accreditation scheme for our skills and experience in this area and high standards of client care.
We have long campaigned and been pioneers for the introduction of no-fault divorce, so are leading lawyers in this area. We can help you sort out your separation with minimal stress.
To set up your free initial consultation for tailored advice about no-fault divorce or any other divorce, civil partnership dissolution or separation matter, get in touch with our no-fault divorce solicitors by giving us a call or filling in our online enquiry form.