BBC’s ‘The Split’: Why The New No-Fault Divorce Law Will Make Separation Easier

Dramatising divorce, BBC drama ‘The Split’ showcases that even divorce lawyers can’t guarantee a mess-free divorce!

Following the lives of the Defoe family who all work in family and divorce law, ‘The Split’ showcases the realities of unnecessary distress, delays and complications divorce entails.

Now, a brand new no-fault divorce law has been introduced to England and Wales, resulting in 3,000 separation applications being filed, surging by 50 per cent.

Legal experts at BPP University Law School aren’t surprised at the flurry of applications, as they vouch that this law will make it much easier for couples to agree on finances, assets and the future of their children.

“For couples who are wanting to make a clean break without the drama and mess a divorce can cause, this new law provides a humane exit route.

“Highlighting the unnecessary distress and delay caused by the old blame-based system one partner, or both acting together, can now file for divorce, without having to give a reason or apportion blame.

“One in five British adults admit to having had an affair, however ending ‘the blame game’ ​​will help people rebuild their lives and protect children.

“One of the biggest hurdles in the process is the involvement of children and money. However, judges will now step in to resolve disputes over children, maintenance or the just division of wealth.

“Divorce can also be a lengthy process- and one which many couples will want over and done with.

“Usually, there is a 20-week period between when proceedings begin and applying for a conditional order- along with a further six-week period before a divorce is granted.

“A survey back in 2019 found that almost a quarter of people think divorce will be made cheaper by the move, with almost one in five believing it will lead to an increase in the number of divorces- which we have already seen happening.

“Hopefully, no-fault divorce will set a less bitter tone and the culture, allowing couples and lawyers to focus more on resolving financial and children matters - the things that matter the most.”

What rights do you have with the new no-fault divorce law?

The introduction of no-fault divorce this April has been the most significant change to divorce law since 1969.

The law means that couples can get divorced without one person needing to lay blame on the other. This change also applies to civil partnership dissolution.

It is also no longer possible to contest a divorce or civil partnership dissolution- unless it's on the basis of jurisdiction.

Here is a breakdown of the divorce law reforms:

1. Divorce can be granted without one person blaming another

The removal of fault or blame from the divorce process is the most important element of no-fault divorce.

Couples can get divorced solely on the basis that the marriage has broken down, without needing to cite one of the 5 reasons that were previously required.

2. It is no longer possible to contest a divorce

One of the most significant changes to come out of the law reform is that now a divorce or civil partnership dissolution can only be contested on the basis of jurisdiction.

Under the old system, one person would submit a divorce petition citing their spouse's behaviour or a period of separation as the reason for the divorce, and their spouse could contest this.

3. Couples can apply for divorce jointly

Under the old divorce laws, just one person needed to issue divorce proceedings against the other, being called the petitioner.

However, under the new no-fault divorce system, the application can either be made by one person (called the applicant) or both people can make the application jointly.

4. A 26-week minimum timeframe between the application and final order

A minimum timeframe of 20 weeks has been introduced between the application being submitted and the final order being applied for.

This minimum timeframe of 20 weeks also applies between the application being issued and the conditional order being applied for.

Then, a further 6 week and 1 day period must then pass between the condition order and the application for the final order.

This timeframe has been introduced to counter concerns that the reforms would make divorce a quicker and easier option for couples than trying to save their relationship.

5. Divorce terminology has been updated

The person applying for the divorce is now called the applicant, instead of the petitioner. While the decree nisi is now called the conditional order and the decree absolute is now called the final order.

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