Must We Apportion Blame As Part Of Our Divorce?
- AuthorAngela Killa
"My husband and I have decided to split. We have no children and we want to keep things amicable. Must we apportion blame for our marriage breakdown?"
MPs have approved a no-fault divorce ruling – a change to the law designed to take some heat out of the Divorce process. Couples seeking a no-fault divorce can start the process from 6 April 2022. Legal bodies have been campaigning for decades for the change to be implemented to update what many see as an outmoded legal stance, which sees couples having to prove the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage before they can divorce.
The change will enable couples to petition for divorce jointly rather than being forced to apportion blame. The introduction of a new minimum time frame of six months – from petition to the marriage being ended - means this change is not likely to lead to quickie divorces, as some critics have feared. The new laws will also prevent people from refusing a divorce if their spouse wants one.
The two-stage legal process which is currently “decree nisi” and “decree absolute”, will be replaced with “conditional order” and “final order”. The new law removes the ability to contest a divorce save that the only grounds on which to dispute a divorce or dissolution under the new law related to:
- the validity or existence of the marriage or civil partnership, or
- the jurisdiction of the court to deal with the proceedings.
Clearly, if a couple can reach an agreement the divorce process will be simpler and less costly. However, divorce can be very stressful and it is important to seek tailored legal advice in relation to Divorce and the especially financial aspects of marital breakdown.
The question posed is based upon a hypothetical situation.