If you have already considered separating from your spouse, you may have heard or read that as of 6th April 2022 you are able to apply jointly for a divorce with your spouse. That is of course if you are both agreeable that the best way forward is a divorce. In order to keep matters as amicable as possible, you can proceed with your joint divorce application until the end goal; to have your marriage dissolved by way of a ‘Final Order’. Which, until 6th April 2022 will be referred to as “the Decree Absolute”.
Believe it or not, this is a process which many lawyers have campaigned for in Parliament for over 20 years. It is also one of the most critical changes in Matrimonial Law for over 50 years. The main purpose behind this significant change is to remove the “blame” element and, or to ensure that couples who are going through a divorce are able to minimize conflict where possible. Particularly if there are other issues in dispute between the parties relating to other sensitive matters, such as finances or child arrangements. Who knows, there may reform in the future where financial and children proceedings can be more harmonious.
However, in the meantime, law-makers have created a revolutionary process to encourage parties to work together, as opposed to against one another.
Nonetheless, if you, unlike your spouse, are wishing to proceed with a divorce you are still able to make an application without their agreement.
Making the decision to divorce your spouse is one that nobody should make overnight, and with that in mind, Parliament have introduced a new “20 week cooling off period” after the application for divorce has been issued. This is to give one or both spouses the opportunity to consider whether reconciliation is possible, and/or time to make other decisions such as living arrangements, or settling finance.
It is hoped that with this regime, the parties will be able to remain amicable throughout their divorce and concentrate, where necessary, on dealing with the finances and/or child arrangements with same amicable approach.
At AST Hampsons we offer a free initial consultation for new clients. Please contact us on 0161 763 1000 to arrange an appointment today to speak with one of our specialist Family Lawyers.