Do I divorce now, or wait for no-fault divorce?

So-called ‘Divorce Day’, the first working Monday of the New Year, is with us again next week.

Divorce Day is supposed to be busiest day of the year for divorce lawyers, when more people commence divorce proceedings than on any other day. The theory behind it, if one can call it that, is that that a fractious family Christmas was the last straw for their marriages. Or perhaps they have just decided that the New Year is the time to make a new start.

There is much debate as to whether Divorce Day is a real phenomenon, or just something created by the popular media.

But if you are one of the people who has decided that you want a divorce that debate is, of course, academic.

What may be more important on this particular Divorce Day is whether you proceed now, or wait until the new no-fault divorce system comes into force in April, as we mentioned in a post here last week.

As we explained in that post, no-fault divorce is likely in many cases to be much more ‘amicable’ than a divorce under the present system, unless you have already been separated for at least two years. If you haven’t, then under the present system you will only be able to get a divorce by proving that your spouse is responsible for the marriage breakdown, because of their adultery or ‘unreasonable behaviour’.

Attributing blame in this way and making allegations against your spouse may obviously make them less amenable to agreeing other important matters, such as arrangements for children and finances.

It is generally believed that no-fault divorce is a better way. So would it be better to wait?

There are a number of factors to consider, including the following.

Firstly, there is no point in waiting if you have been separated for two years and your spouse consents to a divorce under the present system – the divorce should already be reasonably amicable.

Secondly, you may need to get the divorce under way quickly so that you can make a financial remedies application – in this case it may be best not to wait.

However, if you fear that your spouse may defend the divorce then it would almost certainly be best to wait, as it will not be possible to defend a divorce under the no-fault system.

Lastly, you may want to consider the time that the divorce will take. Under the present system it is possible to get a divorce in as little as three months, whereas under the no-fault system the divorce will take a minimum of six months.

If you are unsure whether to divorce now or wait you should seek the advice of an expert family lawyer. We can find you an expert lawyer that works with you on our digital platform. For more information, call us on 020 3904 0506, or click here, and fill in the form.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash