A long-awaited change in the law to allow for a no-fault divorce will have a significant benefit for families and remove toxic “blame culture,” a Warwickshire solicitor has said.
New legislation comes into force on April 6 which allows couples to individually or jointly approach a court to ask for a divorce without needing to blame one another.
Up until now, couples have had to be separated for two years with each other’s consent, or five years without, before they could apply for a divorce, otherwise they would need to blame the other party.
The blame could be assigned through adultery, unreasonable behaviour or desertion.
Sophia Mellor, head of family law at Blythe Liggins Solicitors in Leamington, said the updated law should make a difficult time much easier for everyone concerned.
She is offering a free advice session – either in person or via video call – for anyone wanting to find out more about the new legislation and how it may affect them.
Sophia said: “The current law dates back to 1973 and the main argument against it was that it was outdated, a point of view which has finally been listened to.
“The family law campaign group Resolution started a campaign for the introduction of a no-fault divorce law more than 30 years ago and many involved in the family justice system have been fighting for it ever since.
“Now, we have a situation where a couple can approach a court on a joint basis and not blame each other. Both applicants take part on an equal footing and it removes the culture of blame.
“Equally, one party only can apply to the court without blaming the other, by simply stating their case that their marriage has broken down irretrievably.
“It’s going to allow clients and family law practitioners to focus on the important issues: the welfare of the children of the family and a fair division of the assets.
“When it comes to issues such as children and money, people find it hard to separate the divorce process from the other issues. Emotions run high, making it difficult for them to focus on what is important.
“Now the main focus will be on the wellbeing of a couple’s children and resolving their financial issues, making the process much easier on a human level.”
CAPTION: Sophia Mellor, head of family law at Blythe Liggins in Leamington.
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