The introduction of no-fault divorce is long awaited legislation that is the first change to divorce law in 50 years. The much heralded ‘end to the blame game’ has arrived and we have now entered a digital age of divorcing online and with no paper process involved whatsoever. It is no longer possible to allege the fault of one party when commencing proceedings and applications are being made either jointly or individually.
The HMCTS portal has been overhauled to reflect the new forms, process, and terminology. Since its launch on 6th April 2022 the portal seems to be working without significant hitch.
This is the latest step in a long road to ultimately taking the fight out of family separation. It follows the extension of the Government funded Family Mediation Voucher Scheme, in January 2022, which enables families to benefit from out of court mediation. Prior to that, the Government announced a call for evidence on dispute resolution methods for families (as well as business and other civil disputes) with a view to keeping them away from the court room.
It has long been understood that family disputes should not be played out in the court room. Changing the accusatory nature of the divorce legislation from ‘adultery’, and ‘unreasonable behaviour’, which required fault to be apportioned in order to obtain an instant divorce, will serve well those many couples who simply wish to separate because they are no longer suited or no longer in love.