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No-fault divorce and the impact on parents



We had a chat with Dan Martinez, and amicable Divorce Coach and Dad about the impact of no-fault divorces on parents and children.

Here is what he had to say…

I am delighted by the change in divorce law. I know what an impact the previous system had on couples if they wanted an amicable separation. Being told a list of reasons why you are at fault on the divorce paperwork can be truly devastating. AND it can impact their ability to negotiate a fair settlement with their partner. Too often this would place couples in a tricky position. It makes for difficult negotiations and has an impact on their ability to co-parent effectively.

What does this mean for families?

If you have decided that your marriage is over, you can start the legal process of divorce without needing to blame your partner. This should help couples with organising any child arrangements. As well as negotiating their finances.

If you have decided to end your marriage, there are three main things you need to sort out. Children arrangements, how you plan on separating any money or property, and the legal process itself. We can help with all three of these. We work with couples together to help them to agree on the best arrangements for their children and reach a fair financial settlement. Then this can be made legally binding through a consent order. The new law places couples on a more even keel so they can make those decisions, without needing to blame each other for the legal paperwork.

My tips for an amicable no-fault divorce:

· Don’t rush. Make sure you’re both ready. As if one of you is in a different place emotionally, it can make it difficult to negotiate your financial or child arrangements.

· Don’t go straight to solicitors. There are other options which may reduce tension and conflict.

· In terms of splitting money and property, 50/50 is just the starting point. There are lots of things to consider.

· It’s quality not quantity that’s important when it comes to your shared-care arrangements. There are lots of useful resources, such as the amicable Parenting Plan, divorce guide and free 15-minute advice calls.

So here is a quick explainer of exactly what a no-fault divorce is:

The change in divorce law in England and Wales which came in on 6th April 2022, transitioned the law on divorce from a largely fault-based system to a no-fault system. Understandably, this has been a welcome change for many. Previously, if a couple wanted to end their marriage, they would need to select a fault-based reason for the legal paperwork or wait a minimum of two years if they agreed or five if they didn’t.

For many, waiting that long wasn’t an option – especially if they had financial arrangements to make. This meant that lots of people had to choose either ‘unreasonable behaviour’, ‘adultery’ or ‘desertion’ as their reason to support the fact their marriage had broken down on their divorce petition.

The previous system often contributed to additional tension and conflict, as having to blame your partner in the legal process doesn’t necessarily lead to amicable negotiations over your children, money or property. The new law mean that couples no longer need to provide a reason for divorce on the divorce application and they can even apply for divorce jointly if they wish.

I will highlight the key changes below, as well as what this means for families.

Key changes:

· You no longer need to provide a ‘reason’ for your divorce on the divorce application

· It is possible to apply for divorce jointly as a couple or as an individual

· A 20-week cooling off period has been built in. This means to complete a divorce takes six months minimum.

· If one of you thinks the marriage is over, it is. The only grounds that you can contest a divorce are; if your marriage is valid in the first place, if you are already divorced, or if you can’t get divorced in England and Wales

· The language in the legal paperwork has changed. Divorce petition, is now divorce application, decree nisi is now conditional order and decree absolute is now final order.

About the Author

Dan Martinez is first and foremost a Dad, but also a solicitor turned Divorce Coach with over 12 years’ experience in family law. Dan has a great reputation and extensive knowledge of the legalities surrounding divorce and separation. He has been a Divorce Coach at amicable for over a year.

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