Peter Jones, who founded the niche practice in 1992, has supported nationwide family law group Resolution in lobbying MPs in Parliament and Yorkshire for a change in the law.
No-Fault Divorce eliminates the ‘blame game’ and removes the need for separating couples to prove fault or to live apart for at least two years before being granted a divorce.
Under previous laws, unless they had lived apart for two or five years, one partner had to apportion some form of blame for the marriage breakdown. This could be adultery, desertion, or unreasonable behaviour.
Said Peter: “In our experience, we have witnessed how dishing out blame can create conflict and make it difficult to reach a mutually acceptable agreement.
“The absence of blame aims to make it easier for couples to manage their separation and work together to avoid lengthy, costly, and stressful court disputes.
“It helps them to be more collaborative about discussing financial issues and dividing their assets, along with planning for the welfare of their children whose interests should always come first.”
The changes mean that a divorce application cannot be defended or contested. They do, however, enable couples to submit a joint application on mutual terms.
New time scales under No-Fault Divorce require a period of a minimum of 20 weeks between lodging an application with the court and applying for a Conditional Order.
This gives couples time to carefully consider if they are making the right decision. If, after 20 weeks, they still want to go ahead, they need to inform the court and, after a further 6 weeks, apply for a Final Order.
Added Peter: “The financial issues arising from the separation will need to be negotiated and the agreed settlement approved by the court. If agreement is not possible, then a separate process will have to be started.
“It is vital anyone issuing an application themselves ensures that areas such as pensions, insurance benefits and their potential tax implications are dealt with before applying for a Final Order.
We urge taking expert legal advice as it may be necessary to delay applying for a Final Order to protect the financial aspects.”
For queries on No-Fault Divorce or any aspect of family law, visit www.jonesmyers.co.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01423 276104. Jones Myers Harrogate office is at 5 Victoria Avenue, HG1 1EQ