What you need to know about the changing divorce laws
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Katharine Scoot, a matrimonial lawyer at HRJ Foreman Laws Solicitors in Hitchin, tells us about the new no-fault divorce and what to do if you're thinking about getting one.
Q: How are divorce laws changing?
A: The no-fault divorce will come into effect in April 2022, and will allow couples to divorce without needing to lay blame at one another’s door. Currently, the grounds for divorce are that the marriage has irretrievably broken down due to one of the following facts:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Two years' separation with consent
- Five years' separation without consent
This can often lead to animosity between couples and put additional pressure on families.
The no-fault divorce will allow both partners/spouses to apply for a divorce, citing irretrievable breakdown as the cause, therefore eliminating fault. The new system will also allow couples to make a joint application to the court citing irretrievable breakdown. It is hoped that it will particularly benefit couples with children who need to co-parent after the divorce.
Q: Has Covid-19 led to any other changes to divorce proceedings?
A: Like everything else, the pandemic affected divorce proceedings and resulted in some changes that are likely to stick around. For example, divorce applications can now be made online and courts are conducting more remote hearings.
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This has resulted in more efficient processes, including online applications that make it easier to complete forms and help speed up the legal process. Remote hearings save you from travelling to court to attend hearings.
Q: Should I wait to get my divorce in 2022?
A: This depends entirely on what’s best for you. You can wait until the no-fault divorce is passed or you may decide it’s best to separate sooner. If you’re considering a divorce, you can chat with one of our family law experts to access the information you need and find out what your options are in an initial meeting.
The pandemic has put a lot of pressure on many couples. The emotional stress and added time together may have put a strain on your relationship, and it’s worth speaking with someone you trust to help you make an informed decision.
As a qualified collaborative solicitor, I can provide a ‘roundtable’ approach to resolve matters. All negotiations are conducted in four-way face-to-face meetings with the goal of achieving a fair settlement.
Or you may prefer that we support you through family mediation. This is a voluntary and confidential process that helps you to reach decisions and joint solutions through discussion with an independent mediator.
Q: How can I begin divorce proceedings?
A: Once you’re certain that a divorce is the right decision, consult with a family lawyer that specialises in the areas most important to you, such as childcare, finance, or domestic violence. No two cases are ever the same, which is why we take the time to get to know you, so we can offer bespoke legal advice and guidance suited to your needs.
We will be there to reassure you every step of the way and can help you achieve a fair outcome with your family’s best interests in mind. We’ll help to ease tension, minimise stress, and ensure your divorce proceeds smoothly so you can begin looking ahead to the future.
Find help at HRJ Foreman Law Solicitors
Katharine deals with all aspects of family law and is also trained in collaborative law. She is an accredited specialist in financial resolution and domestic violence cases. She has been practicing family law for over 17 years and has helped many couples seek a resolution through divorce or separation.
HRJ Foreman Laws Solicitors have offices in Hitchin, Welwyn Garden City and Letchworth Garden City.