Wait for No Fault Divorce or act now?
The introduction of No Fault Divorce has been long awaited by clients and practitioners alike. Many have speculated whether it is wise to wait until April 2022 to initiate divorce proceedings in the hope of achieving a more amicable separation. In our latest insight article we discuss why, in certain situations, it may be more beneficial to begin divorce proceedings before the reforms take effect.
How is divorce law going to change?
From the 6th April 2022 either spouse may apply for a divorce on the sole ground that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. It is hoped the new reforms will reduce conflict by introducing a blame free approach. The archaic terminology will also change so that the Decree Nisi (the middle stage of divorce) will be called a ‘Conditional Order’ and the Decree Absolute (the final stage of divorce) will be called a ‘Final Order’. Whilst the new reforms will make the process simpler to understand and reduce the level of acrimony between the parties, in certain situations it may be sensible not to delay your divorce.
4 reasons not to wait until April 2022
1. To move on
Often once a couple have decided to separate the need to move on with their lives takes precedence and it makes little sense to delay initiating divorce proceedings. If a relationship has badly broken down it can be helpful to proceed with a divorce to enable both parties to move on, or leave an unhealthy environment if they are still living together. Alongside the emotional reasons for kickstarting the divorce process, there may be more practical reasons such as organising the finances.
2. To finalise financial agreements
If a couple who wish to divorce have agreed on how their finances will be dealt with, it is beneficial to begin divorce proceedings as the Courts can only endorse financial agreements once the Decree Nisi has been pronounced. It can be unwise to delay divorce proceedings where the parties agree on a financial agreement, as this may result in one party reneging on their earlier agreement and lead to avoidable and costly negotiations.
3. To resolve financial disputes
The Courts are unable to make financial orders until the Decree Nisi has been pronounced, and often the most contested aspect of a divorce are the finances. Where there is a risk one party may seize control of the matrimonial assets, or may hide or dissipate their assets, it is prudent to initiate divorce proceedings sooner rather than later.
4. Risk of extra delays
Initiating divorce proceedings is a personal decision but those thinking of waiting until the reforms come into effect next year should bear in mind the predicted spike that is expected to coincide with the new reforms which may result in delays.
In summary whilst it may seem beneficial to wait for the introduction of No Fault Divorce in April 2022, in reality there can be personal and practical reasons which necessitate taking an expedient approach.
How can Tozers help?
We know that dealing with the end of a marriage by a divorce or separation can be very upsetting, which is why our Family Law Team is here to help navigate the process and support you to make decisions that are right for you. Visit their hub page to find out more and contact the team directly.
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