Radical new laws set to end the divorce ‘blame game’

Rayma Collins

Partner & Head of Family Law

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March 1, 2022

With less than a month to go until the Government’s new ‘no-fault’ divorce law commences, a leading family lawyer has welcomed the imminent end to the separation ‘blame game’.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 will remove the concept of fault and is due to come into force from 6 April 2022.

Under the current system of fault-based divorce, one person submits a divorce petition, typically citing their spouse’s behaviour or adultery as the reason for the divorce. This new law means parties no longer need to accuse the other of acrimonious conduct and instead, will be able to apply for a “Divorce Order”, dissolving the marriage on the grounds of irretrievable breakdown.

Rayma Collins, Partner and Head of the Family Law team at Furley Page, is a member of Resolution and supports the new no fault divorce law. She said: “This is a welcome, long overdue change in the law surrounding divorce petitions that follows decades of campaigning for a ‘no fault divorce’ position by many family lawyers who have witnessed the unnecessary distress that can be caused to a family by the current system.

“The changes are the biggest shake-up of divorce laws for 50 years, and will permit couples to either solely or jointly apply to the court for a divorce, thereby separating as amicably as possible.”

Under the new system, the acrimonious conduct allegations and need to evidence separation, will be replaced by a simple statement of irretrievable breakdown, which will be treated as conclusive evidence of the irretrievable breakdown.

Rayma continued: “Crucially, the no fault system enables couples wishing to separate to do so without apportioning blame. By removing the need to find one party at fault, it is intended that the new Act will minimise acrimony from the outset thus improving the prospect of resolving associated legal matters consensually, promoting a more collaborative approach between couples and their solicitors, hopefully outside of the Court system which is currently at breaking point.”

Furley Page’s large specialist Family Law team has wide-ranging experience in family law and divorce. With offices in Canterbury, Whitstable and Chatham, the firm offers a comprehensive range of family law services to clients all across the South East and further afield.

The team are members of Resolution and also includes specialists in collaborative family law, a legal process that some regard as a much more dignified way for couples to separate and work with their legal teams to agree a settlement that meets the needs of the family as a whole, without the need for, or threats of litigation.

For more information about Furley Page’s Family Law services, please email Rayma Collins at rlc@furleypage.co.uk or call 01227 763939.