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Ending the divorce blame game might not suit everyone

Harjit Rait | Ending the divorce blame game might not suit everyoneNext month divorcing couples no longer have to assign blame, and whilst the biggest shake up of divorce laws for 50 years have been largely welcomed, some people find it therapeutic to state their own reason for how a marriage ended, according to one of the North of England’s leading family lawyers.

As a result, anyone who specifically seeks to stipulate one of the five current reasons for their divorce, needs to act fast, according to Harjit Rait, who is a partner in LCF Law’s Family Law team.

The three most common legal reasons clients can currently give are allegations of the other’s unreasonable behaviour, allegations of adultery, or the fact that they have been already separated from their spouse for two years, provided their spouse agrees.

However, from 6 April 2022, married couples will be able to divorce without assigning blame and on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences”, as part of changes to the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020.

Harjit explained: “From April new legislation will remove the need for evidence of one party being to blame for the failure of the marriage. These changes should reduce the acrimony and conflict that often arises during a divorce, and particularly when the fault-based grounds of behaviour and adultery are contested.

“Although we have lots of clients who prefer to wait for the changes in April, there are people pushing ahead to divorce right away. Some people want to have their say about why they feel things have gone wrong in their marriage and find it therapeutic to do so. For some it’s part of the recovery of their separation and they find the process of labelling what happened cathartic.

“We always advise that a no conflict approach is a better way especially where there are children, and we are also there to support our clients through their own journey.

“These changes are widely seen as a positive step forward, but there will obviously still be some cases where separating parties can’t agree, and are hostile towards each other. Given the reason the marriage broke down is not important from the court’s perspective, it’s likely to be these people who prefer to have their say.”

What can we do to help?

For advice in respect of any of the issues raised in this article, please contact Harjit Rait on 01274 386 598 or at ku.oc1716719022.fcl@1716719022tiarh1716719022

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