Should There Be A ‘No Fault’ Divorce?

There is a drive towards having a divorce system that offers ‘no fault’ separations and there are a number of reasons for this.

The current system means that you have to have a reason to get divorced and these grounds are decided by the law. There are five to choose from depending on your circumstances, but the very nature of the current divorce process requires blame to be placed on one party.

This does not set the tone for an amicable split, but perhaps starts the process off with a slightly adversarial feel. Having the ability to separate with a no fault divorce, could in fact result in fewer disputes.

The recently published Manifesto for Family Law by Resolution, the association of family lawyers, supports the idea of a divorce being granted after one party gives notice that the marriage is over and then waits for six months. This is a big departure from the current system where you have to wait either two years or five years depending on whether your spouse agrees with the split.

In fact, this very process was piloted back in 1996 when the Family Law Act was introduced, however it was dropped as too many people were separating. It is important to consider though that these people would almost certainly still have divorced, they would have just had to wait much longer to do so.

The current process also requires you to sort out the financial aspects of your separation and any issues around contact with the children before you can get divorced, but in practice this can be difficult, particularly now legal aid has been cut. Many people are completing the divorce process themselves, but cannot afford to get proper legal advice about their financial situation or their children. This may mean living in limbo and staying married or agreeing a very poor settlement just to get out of the marriage.

A no fault divorce however, could happen quickly, whilst you sort out all the financial and family affairs separately.

It remains to be seen whether the idea of a no fault divorce could go any further, but in principal it does seem to be an idea that is worth exploring.

This information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and each relationship breakdown requires careful consideration in our view by a fully qualified Solicitor before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course of action.

Shak Inayat
Solicitor
0207 183 2898

What Happens To My Will When I Get Divorced?

Making a Will is really important for so many reasons but it is important to understand that once you have made a Will you cannot just put it in a drawer and forget about it. This is because circumstances in your life regularly change and these may require you to update your Will to reflect these changes.

Getting married or having children will affect the status of your Will and in addition, if you get divorced this also means that you should update your Will. There are a number of reasons why this should happen.

The first is that if you get divorced and don’t update your Will, your ex-spouse may get a share of your estate when you die, in fact they will get everything as documented in your Will. Most married couples leave everything to their spouse in the event of their death, so this could have a real impact if you leave your Will as it was when you were married.

Even if you feel that there is not much left to leave to your children after your divorce, making these changes will protect your children and mean that your ex-spouse has no access to these assets. Where your children are under the age of 18, any inheritance will be held in trust for them until they reach adulthood.

In addition, your ex-spouse may be listed as the Executor in your Will so removing them from this role is a must-do job.

If in the future you move in with or marry a new partner, you should change your Will again, however it is worth discussing this with your new partner and making a decision about what you should do regarding your children and what you will leave them in your Will.

You can make minor amendments to your Will with something known as a codicil but if the changes are significant it is likely that you will have to get it re-written. Speak to a specialist Wills and Probate solicitor about your requirements and they will help you to ensure that the changes you make are valid.

This information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and each relationship breakdown requires careful consideration in our view by a fully qualified Solicitor before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course of action.

Shak Inayat
Solicitor
0207 183 2898