As many people know the concept of no-fault divorce was supposed to be enshrined in law by the Divorce Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 with implementation soon thereafter.

Now though the government hopes the new landscape for no-fault divorce may be capable of implementation by April 2022. The reason for the delay is so the courts can build the necessary amendments to court rules and amend the new online digital divorce service.

Well, if our experience today is anything to go by implementation by April 2022 is a pipe dream.

We had a case adjourned in September at very short notice and its new hearing date fixed today some 3 months after the aborted hearing has now fixed the new hearing date for March 2022 a full 6 months after the original date.

What hope have divorcing couples got of getting the whole divorce process done in 6 months in total if the court is adjourning cases for periods of 6 months.

In another case in Newcastle, we applied for a first hearing 6 weeks ago and we still haven’t even been given a hearing date. Until the court system bucks, its ideas up nothing will change and the only way to make the system buck up is if there are sanctions for delays in the court system – make the court pay costs to divorcing couples if the court can’t accommodate cases quickly.

It is the only way the system will change. Have penalties for the courts slow working systems. It is alright saying the court is understaffed and that means delay is acceptable – well I’m sure if there were consequences of delay things would improve.

Only then do we really have a chance that a no-fault divorce with a total time estimate for completion of 6 months will work. Until then the current system will just limp along because there are no consequences to the court of failure or poor service.

Fair result demands the system change to provide a better service to clients.

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