LEGAL EAGLE: Seeking to make our divorce as amicable as possible

My husband and I have been married for over 11 years. We have three children together aged nine, seven and four.

Tuesday, 16th February 2021, 12:00 am
Under the new rules, the current requirement to establish a fault-based fact or a separation fact will be replaced with the option of one spouse or the couple jointly making a statement of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

Throughout the last couple of years our marriage has deteriorated to the point that we spend very little time together and no longer love each other. Neither of us are to blame, I feel that the relationship has just sadly ran its course. I am at the stage now where I am considering filing for a divorce. However, I do not want there to be any animosity as neither of us are at fault, nor do I want the children to be impacted. Please can you advise how I can make the divorce as amicable as possible?

We are sorry to hear about the unfortunate breakdown of your relationship and appreciate that

this must be a difficult time for you, especially as there are children involved.

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The sole ground that must be proven in order to be granted a divorce is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. To evidence this ground, couples will either have to prove the other party is at fault by citing adultery or unreasonable behaviour on the divorce petition or wait until they have been separated for 2 years if the other party consents. If one party does not consent, the other party will have to wait 5 years before being allowed to petition for divorce.

However, the law surrounding divorce in England and Wales changed recently in June 2020, with the new law expected to be implemented in Autumn 2021. Under the new rules, the current requirement to establish a fault-based fact or a separation fact will be replaced with the option of one spouse or the couple jointly making a statement of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. This change removes the need for one party to ‘blame’ the other and is aimed at reducing animosity and conflict between divorcing couples. This is expected to help couples reach agreements on children and finances later in proceedings.

Therefore, you may wish to wait until the new law is implemented before petitioning for a divorce if you wish for the proceedings to be as amicable as possible. However, it is not certain that it will come into force in Autumn 2021 so you may be waiting longer than this. If you would like to make an appointment to discuss this matter further and to assess if you are eligible for Legal Aid to be represented in the proceedings, then please do not hesitate to contact us on 0191 565 3112.