No-fault divorce introduced in England & Wales – When was no-fault divorce introduced?

Originally published on 6th April 2022 at 11:18 AM
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On 6th April 2022, ‘no-fault divorce’ was introduced in England and Wales.

This represents the biggest change in divorce laws in over 50 years and something that we have been campaigning for as a company for a long time.

amicable wholeheartedly supports this change and believe it will make a real difference in the way couples divorce as the new law will remove blame from the process.

The requirement to assign blame under the previous law and formally present a ‘ground for divorce’ sowed the seed for an acrimonious ending to a relationship. No-fault divorce puts an end to this, allowing couples to submit a joint divorce application together, greatly reducing stress and conflict.

Over the years, amicable has campaigned to address and reform the divorce system in England & Wales.

In 2020, amicable won a landmark High Court Judgment challenging the lawyer vs lawyer approach to divorce and separation. This validated amicable’s approach of only working with couples, rather than representing individuals.

Co-founder of amicable Pip Wilson notes:

“From inception, amicable has disrupted the family law market by taking a customer-eyed view of the legal services sector. We now stand on the edge of the biggest change to divorce laws in over 50 years and we are hugely excited by the opportunity to help more couples and shape a changing narrative around divorce for our customers.”

The abolishment of the blame game

The introduction of No-fault divorce brings a huge narrative shift to separation. No longer will couples have to state that one spouse has behaved unreasonably, deserted the other spouse, committed adultery or that the marriage has irretrievably broken down after two or five years. Instead, the new law will allow couples to simply state that they are no longer in love with each other, helping to establish a common ground from the outset.

Why was no-fault divorce introduced?

According to Kate Daly , co-founder of amicable:

“No-fault divorce will go some way towards healing the broken divorce system. When a divorcing couple is being wrenched apart emotionally and financially, their most precious commodity is cooperation. The last thing they want, or need is to drip feed the poison of blame into the divorce process. Blame inflames bitterness and recrimination, and it is no wonder that almost half of divorcees say that having to apportion ‘blame’ added unnecessary pain and damaged their mental health.

“Some say the introduction of No-fault divorce will challenge the sanctity of marriage. We fiercely contest this. Deciding to divorce is a huge decision that will have ripple effects on a person’s life for decades. Feelings of anger, depression, blame, and hurt are exacerbated under the current system. We need to inject cooperation into the heart of the process and set up divorce in a way that is far more collaborative.”

No-fault divorce will make divorce proceedings kinder

With society becoming accustomed to the concept of an amicable divorce, the law change will finally allow couples to have kinder divorces. This will set couples off on a positive footing, allowing divorcees to focus on their shared responsibilities in a non-confrontational way.

Kate Daly also notes:

“No-fault divorce drains the toxic elements and brings divorce in line with current relationship styles. For decades thousands of divorcing couples each year have had to speak negatively about their ex in situations where they really didn’t want to. For most, the priority is to make the best possible arrangements for their children and to sort out their accommodation and finances. Having to assign and set out in detail one person's blame for the marriage breakdown eats away at the mutual co-operation that is vital in achieving an amicable divorce.”

When was no fault divorce introduced (UK)?

No-fault divorce was introduced in England and Wales in April 2022. Elsewhere in the UK, Scotland has a no-fault system, whereas Northern Ireland is yet to implement this.

Why was no-fault divorce introduced?

No-fault divorce was introduced following campaigning from organisations such as amicable, to remove ‘blame’ from the legal process of divorce. Neighbouring jurisdictions such as Scotland had already introduced no-fault divorce.

When will no-fault divorce begin in UK?

No-fault divorce was introduced in the England and Wales on April 6th, 2022.

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