Teresa Cullen, Partner in Fladgate’s Family Law team comments on today’s Family Court statistics:
“The latest figures from the Family Court statistics were published today showing that there were 30,150 divorce petitions presented during January to March 2022 which is a decrease from those presented during the same quarter in 2021.
“Anecdotally, it was felt that there would be a “holding off“ of petitions in certain cases, particularly where the parties were in agreement to divorce to enable them to make use of the “no-fault divorce law“* which came into effect on 6 of April 2022.
“The aim of this legislation was to reduce the potential for conflict, and to avoid the need for allegations of blame or misconduct to be raised by one spouse against the other, simply to obtain a divorce and to recognise that the marriage was at an end.
“That anecdotal evidence seems to have been backed up by the first management figures for April 2022 which show that 13,000 new applications were made under the no-fault divorce legislation, which is an increase on petitions presented from January to March 2022.
“Perhaps of more interest, under the new legislation it is possible for an application to be made jointly by both spouses, however, from the management information supplied out of the 13,000 new applications, less than 3,000 were made jointly.
“The new no-fault divorce law that allows spouses to apply individually or jointly, does not require allegations of claim to be made, and importantly, removes the ability for a spouse to defend an application for divorce.
“The last point brings to an end the opportunity for spouses to become embroiled in costly litigation arguing simply about whether the marriage is actually over and who was to blame.”