Can you believe it’s already been a year since the UK introduced the no-fault divorce system? The 6th April 2023 marked the 1 year anniversary. It’s been a big change in family law, but one that’s brought lots of benefits and transformed the way divorces are handled. In this article, we’re taking a closer look at how the no-fault divorce system has been doing one year on, talk about its successes and challenges, as well as seeing what the future might hold. So let’s dive in and explore this revolutionary change in family law together!
Here’s Angie’s take on the Subject…
Overwhelmingly, as a resolution lawyer I believe that this change to our system has been an absolute success. It is certainly much more empowering for families trying to evolve beyond relationship breakdown. Taking away the fault element of divorce is enabling separating couples to deal with their divorce in a more amicable and family focused way.
However, in my view there are some downsides. It is not the no fault systems per say, but rather the complete shift to the online system which from a positive perspective has enabled clients to be able to progress their divorce themselves through the online portal. Conversely, the downside to this is that the online portal does not take sufficient steps to warn the clients who are acting for themselves in this route, about the significant and potential impact of taking steps within the divorce process separately or in some cases in the absence of dealing with the financial issues arising from their divorce.
Getting the final order on divorce does not mean that you have ended the financial claims arising from the marriage. It can also have a significant effect if either party subsequently remarries after a final divorce order, but has not yet applied for their financial provisions.
This is widely known as the remarriage trap. There can also be a number of impacts with regards to inheritance protection and property issues. It may also be unknown to one party about the impact their potential pension claim if a final order of divorce is obtained before a financial one.
A Solicitor is Still a Necessity
Whilst the need to have a solicitor involved to be able to actually understand and complete the divorce process online is becoming less necessary for that process itself; the reality is that the overall impact of failing to get the advice from a solicitor at the key stages of the divorce process itself, means that parties are falling into a number of potential pitfalls on the financial side, which can often have much greater and more far reaching impact upon their futures.
There is no substitute to good quality legal advice when going through separation issues. If parties are struggling to afford legal representation, a sensible and practical alternative, is to try and resolve financial matters through the mediation process, where the Government Voucher Scheme Funds are available to couples embarking jointly through the mediation process if they are eligible for that scheme.
A Family Mediator can also give legal information to both those parties so they can understand their positions and make informed choices about the potential risks regarding the financial issues that arise pursuant to their divorce.
However mediation does not have to start after a divorce. Parties can engage in the mediation process even before issuing the divorce. And they can use the mediation process to determine how best to achieve that, as well as deal with any matters relating to the relationship breakdown within the mediation process. It is a more far reaching and holistic approach to addressing matters through a non-legal arena in the early stages to help minimise costs and prevent financial risks.
If you are interested in finding out more about divorce, or the financial implications or impact of divorce, or the mediation process please contact email@example.com or 01925 761052.