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A Guide to New Mediated Divorce from 6th April 2022

For the first time in over half a century, the divorce laws change to the new DDSA (Divorce Dissolution and Separation Act 2022 and with it some fundamental changes to how a couple may now end their marriages and civil partnerships. Gone is the element of having to blame the other party and it is believed this will have a positive effect upon children of the partnership. It is hoped that it will also reduce conflict between both parties and it is expected that the demand for divorce mediation will increase significantly as the adversarial element for lawyer lead divorces will be reduced.

 

There were one of five reasons needed to end a marriage or civil partnership that included:

  1. Your husband or wife had sexual intercourse with someone else of the opposite sex (committed adultery).
  2. Unreasonable behaviour.
  3. You’ve been separated for at least 2 years.
  4. You’ve been separated for at least 5 years.

These are replaced now with a more simple process requiring only a statement of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage or civil partnership as part of your application for a divorce. Family mediators are receiving more enquiries and this is expected to grow exponentially over the coming months and years as couples prefer to enter into dialogue through an independent third party, rather than through lawyers and the courts.

 

Below is a brief overview of the key changes / differences that will effect the majority of divorcing couples.

  • There is a minimum period of 26 weeks from application (previously referred to as the ‘Petition’) to Conditional Order (Decree Nisi) and Final Order (Decree Absolute).
  • The other party cannot contest the divorce application meaning that a divorce will not be held-up if your spouse wanted to contest the reasons. It therefore also means that a party does not need to defend why they wish to divorce.
  • Blame, in a divorce has been removed. Previously, you had to sight reasons to support a claim of divorce due to unreasonable behaviour. This it is hoped will significantly reduce conflict and undue negative impact upon any children.
  • For the first time ever, joint applications for divorce are now accepted.
  • Applications for divorce, dissolution or separation can made either online or using paper forms.

 

Divorcing couples will still need to provide information about child arrangements as well as their intentions to divide their assets, so little change has occurred on these points.

Whilst the process remains similar to the previous law for divorce, one thing that may help those wishing to manage their own divorce, is the use of clearer English, largely as a result of removing many Latin terms.

It is expected that more couples may choose to opt for a DIY divorce and potential save many thousands of pounds. However, where financial settlements are involved, the need for a lawyer will doubtless still exist. Couples will still need to consider making any financial settlement legally binding. Where agreement cannot be readily achieved privately, the use of divorce mediation is smart choice will be to engage a professional family mediator to help. The success rate for reaching a financial settlement using family mediation is well above ninety percent of all matters.

Divorce Mediation – A More Affordable Option

Many couples simply will not pay what could be tens of thousands of pounds have to litigate nor wait in some cases years for a settlement. Divorce mediation, in so many cases reduces this to within a few weeks to a few months whilst saving thousands of their hard earned money.  Feel free to contact our highly-trained and experienced family mediators and see how we can help you.  Simply call us on 0330 113 0005 or you can request a call back here.

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