Do I need to wait to start my divorce until the new rules come in?

January 25th, 2022

With the ‘No-Fault’ divorce coming into effect in April 2022, many people are asking the same question – Should I delay my divorce until the new rules come into force or go about divorce proceedings as usual?

What are the current rules?

There are a number of factors to take into account when filing for divorce at present and each situation differs depending on the circumstances. Currently, to proceed with a divorce, couples must be able to prove one of the following five facts in order to demonstrate a relationship breakdown.

These facts are:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Desertion
  • Two years’ separation with consent from the other party
  • Five years’ separation without consent from the other party

Over the years, it has been argued that this divorce process is outdated and it has been blamed for causing unnecessary conflict between couples, leading to resentment and unreasonable behaviour when individuals become frustrated.

The new law means that couples no longer have to give evidence of one of the five facts. This is in the hopes of reducing the animosity between parties and allowing them to settle finances and child arrangements in a more positive manner.

Should I wait until the new rules come into effect?

Although waiting for the new rules to come into play may be beneficial to some, in a number of cases there can be other reasons as to why starting divorce proceedings as soon as possible is more appropriate.

In circumstances where there is a dispute in relation to finances, a divorce petition needs to be underway before a financial application can be made. In this instance, it may jeopardise one side of the party by delaying proceedings.

Delaying divorce opens up the opportunity for risk of one party seizing control of all assets before reaching an agreement that suits both sides. There may also be very little transparency about the financial circumstances on either side, giving rise to mistrust or other concerns about which may be potentially happening without them knowing.

If a couple have been separated for two years already, it usually makes little sense to delay the decision to divorce for even longer as the decision has already been made to move on with their lives.

When it may be beneficial to delay the divorce

If you are concerned that your partner may potentially challenge you on the grounds in which you want a divorce, holding out for the no-fault divorce will mean that the partner will be unable to do this, avoiding any extra costs and lengthy proceedings.

Similarly, if your partner does not agree with a divorce or dissolution and you do not have any reasoning that matches the five facts of divorce, delaying the divorce until the no-fault rules come into play will push through the process quicker. Going by the current law, if your partner does not give consent, you have to wait 5 years to get a divorce, the no-fault divorce cuts out the blame game and allows you to deal with the proceedings quicker.

How we can help

Our specialist team of family experts are available to give advice and support about no-fault divorce, or any other divorce, civil partnership dissolution or separation matter. You can read more about our family services here. 

Get in touch today and discuss your options with us by phoning 023 9298 1000 or email us at Alternatively you can fill in the form below and a member of the team will be in touch.