“I want a divorce – what happens next?”
5th August 2021
The past year has been hard for anyone who wants a divorce but some feel the time is finally right. Now we have been released from, for most, the third lockdown of this seemingly unending pandemic, and now the Government have moved to stage 4. This has removed most of the previous restrictions imposed on our freedoms, allowing many people who might already have been contemplating getting a divorce, to begin the process. People finally feel they have the freedom to move out – or ask their spouse to move out – and this is prompting them to initiate the divorce process.
It was hoped that the impatiently awaited “no fault divorce” procedures would be implemented in the Autumn of this year, but ministers have considered this date to be too optimistic. Instead a fresh date for implementation has now been set as April 6th 2022.
So for those people who can not face the prospect of another lockdown with their husband or wife, they have been asking our family law solicitors to help them begin a divorce under the current regime. Until no fault divorce is implemented, if a husband or wife wants a divorce, they must still rely on the use of one of the five facts. The justification for which a petition for divorce can currently be based are :-
- Adultery (of your wife or husband) which they must admit on the form sent to them by the court.
- Behaviour (of your wife or husband) which will be based on a number of subjective reasons that have led you believe that the marriage has broken down and it is intolerable for you to remain living with your husband or wife.
- Desertion where your spouse has left you and refuses to admit a duty to support you or a duty to maintain you.
- Separation for a period in excess of two years, which requires an agreement as to the length of time you have lived apart.
- Separation for a period in excess of five years but which does not require your spouse to consent/agree the period of the separation.
Until the new regime is implemented, these remain the bases upon which a petition for divorce can be presented to the court.
Impact of Lockdown on Couples
While it is arguable that the pandemic has delayed the ‘no fault’ divorce regime, the pandemic has at least modernised and drastically sped up the current process. We are now able to file a divorce petition online, which reduces the time the court takes to process the divorce papers (usually) in less than half the time than the traditional paper divorce petitions (which still, unfortunately remains in limited circumstances, such as for Civil Partnership Dissolution petitions).
If you would like to discuss the various options open to you, we at Cotswold Family Law are able to provide a professional and sensitive approach to help you reach the best solution for your particular situation. We continue to offer an initial free consultation for advice. This ensures you are better informed about matters such as reaching financial settlements in a divorce as you move forward.
To contact our experienced family department secretary, email Lorraine or by telephone on 01608 697305 and she can put you in touch with our Family team who are Ian Davies (Partner and Member of Resolution and the Law Society Family Law Scheme) and Danielle Greatbatch (Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives).