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No Fault Divorce: Half of the UK’s divorcees would have opted for a no fault divorce had it been an option at the time

Photo by Zoriana Stakhniv on Unsplash
  • 7 in 10 men would have chosen a no fault divorce, compared to 4 in 10 women
  • More than a quarter (28%) of divorcees believe a no fault divorce would have made the process less acrimonious or hostile
  • Cheaper, quicker and simpler are the top benefits associated with a no fault divorce, while also minimising hostility and placing less of a strain on relationships

From 6th April 2022, couples in England and Wales will now be able to apply for a no fault divorce, in which neither partner must accept blame or fault for the end of the marriage.

As the new legislation comes into effect, new research from law firm Fladgate shows how the new rule could be set to transform the divorce process in the UK. Half (51%) of divorced people in the UK would have opted for a no fault divorce had it been an option at the time of their divorce proceedings. Notably, divorced men are much more likely to have opted for a no fault divorce with seven in 10 (71%) stating they would have chosen a no fault divorce, compared with just 42% of women.

No fault divorces are anticipated to bring about savings in both time and cost, with 47% of divorced people recognising that a no fault divorce would have made the process simpler and quicker, while 29% believe it would have been cheaper.

The new rules are also likely to mitigate the emotional impact of divorce too, with over a quarter (28%) believing it would have made the process less acrimonious or hostile, while 21% feel it would have placed less of a strain on their mental health and wellbeing.

Top benefits of a no fault divorce as perceived by UK divorcees

Simpler and quicker process 47%
Cheaper 29%
Place less acrimonious/hostile process 28%
Placed less of a strain on mental health/wellbeing 21%
A more amicable relationship with ex spouse 15%
Placed less of a strain on children’s mental health and wellbeing 12%
Placed less of a strain on the relationship with children 9%

 

Teresa Cullen Family Law Partner at Fladgate: “The introduction of no fault divorce has been eagerly anticipated in the UK, and this research demonstrates just how transformative the new rules may be in improving the UK’s divorce process. The benefits for couples will be wide ranging, not only simplifying and expediting the process – resulting in what will likely be a significant cost saving for couples – but also in minimising the hostility and acrimony that so often comes with a contested divorce. Removing the emphasis on’ blame’, it is to be hoped that this will in turn mitigate the long-term harm that divorce proceedings can often bring to individuals’ wellbeing and family relationships.”

Hetty Gleave Family Law Partner at Fladgate: “With half of divorced couples wishing they had been able to pursue a no fault divorce, we believe that many couples have waited for this change before commencing the divorce process. On a wider scale it is anticipated that this will also help to ease up the pressure placed on the already stretched court system in England and Wales, who will be freed from entering into the quagmire of marital ‘he said /she said’ and attributing blame for the breakdown of marriages. With the court system already suffering significant delays in dealing with other aspects of family life this can only be to the benefit of all concerned.”

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