Q: Before the covid lockdown my husband and I both had busy social lives but mostly separate. When lockdown came, we struggled being at home together. No massive rows, just a realisation that we have grown apart and have different interests. In fact, lockdown did us a favour as it brought us to the sensible decision that we were wasting our lives by staying together. We read about a new ‘no blame’ divorce law that let’s couples use the same solicitor - what is the procedure?
A: The outdated ‘five facts’ divorce legislation, whereby grounds for divorce must be proven by naming one party as guilty of misdemeanors or else be preceded by a term of separation, was replaced this April by the new “Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020”. The aim is to make divorce proceedings more amicable and focus on issues such as children and finances.
As you rightly say, the new legislation provides the option for a joint application and both parties may use the same solicitor. This of course saves money, but it is still advisable to have a Financial Agreement or Consent Order drawn up separate to the divorce. This ensures full protection against any future claims, which could happen if circumstances changed for either of you.
The new procedure would involve an initial assessment to check that you are both committed to divorcing amicably and that neither of you has put pressure on the other to do so. Assessments would be carried out separately with each of you. If you meet the criteria for divorcing this way, your solicitor will talk you through the process from start to finish and agree a timeline for the divorce that suits you both. After signing a declaration, you will be asked to attend three further meetings together, during which time a financial agreement will be reached, and you will be given time to think and reconsider before making your final decision.
This question has been answered by Alison Peters, a Partner with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194