Reduced Costs Until 30th March 2022 for Divorce Petitions

Prior to the new legislation regarding “no fault” divorce, rhw Solicitors are offering a reduction in our legal fees for clients who wish to submit their petitions prior to the new legislation coming into effect. Our fixed legal fees for a non-contested divorce petition is £850 plus vat and this offer is only available between 18-30 March 2022.

If you wish to lodge your petition under the current legislation, then you have until 4pm on 31 March 2022 to submit this on the online portal but we would strongly advise that if a petition is going to be lodged, then this is done before 30 March 2022 to avoid it potentially being rejected by the court.

The New Legislation Regarding “No Fault” Divorce is Days Away

From 6 April 2022, the Law regarding divorces in England and Wales will remove the requirement to show any fault or wrongdoing, i.e. the “blame game” and under new legislation you will be able to apply for the “no fault” divorce which means that divorce petitions lodged from 6 April 2022 cannot be contested.

Under the current legislation you can only apply for divorce if the marriage has irretrievable broken down and there are 5 facts that you can rely on:

  1. Unreasonable behaviour;
  2. Adultery;
  3. Your spouse deserted you at least 2 years ago
  4. 2 year separation with consent;
  5. 5 year separation (no consent needed)

Once the new legislation is in place, there will no longer be a requirement for a spouse to rely on one of the above facts. Instead, separating couples will be required to provide a statement of irretrievable breakdown. There is also an option for both spouses to apply for divorce on a joint and amicable basis. Legal jargon will be removed and the current second stage of the divorce known as the “Decree Nisi” will be known as “Conditional Order.” The third and final stage of the order which is currently referred to as the “Decree Absolute” will be referred to as “Final Order.”

The Case That Changed the Divorce “Blame Game”

Mrs Owens petitioned for divorce in May 2015 and relied on Mr Owens’ unreasonable behaviour for the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. She alleged that her marriage to Mr Owens had irretrievably broken down and that he has “behaved in such a way that [she] cannot reasonably be expected to live with [him].”  Mr Owens contested Mrs Owens divorce petition on the basis that his behaviour had not been unreasonable in the context of their marriage and that the breakdown was not irretrievable as the particulars did not prove the breakdown was final. The court dismissed Mrs Owens divorce petition after the Family Court found the test for irretrievable breakdown had not been met.

The case went as far as the Supreme Court and Lady Hale stated that she “found this a very troubling case. It is not for us to change the law laid down by Parliament- our role is to interpret and apply the law that Parliament has given us,” and hence Mrs Owens’ application was dismissed.

 

How rhw can help

As members of Resolution, the new legislation of removing the ‘blame game’ is welcomed. We recognise that going through a divorce can be a stressful and an emotional time for all involved but with the new legislation, it is hoped that the divorce process will make things much more straightforward and removing the pointing fingers and blame.

However, certain parts of the divorce process will not change. Some partners will try and hide money and assets. Issues over children will continue and the emotional and behavioural aspects of divorce will still be there. rhw provide experienced legal advice across all these areas and beyond. We also have a huge amount of experience with complex, international and high net worth divorce matters.


rhw commercial solicitors, Guildford, Surrey. For further advice on no fault divorce, then please contact our highly experienced family law team on Guildford 01483 302000, complete the simple contact form or you can email us family@rhw.co.uk