The Divorce Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 has been passed by Parliament. The new no-fault divorce regime is due to be implemented and take effect in Autumn 2021, but will it really change the landscape of divorce and separation. In the view of Fair Result probably not.
Whilst the aims of the bill are manifestly on the right lines. Taking blame away as a reason for divorce has got to be a step in the right direction. The divorcing couple knows between them why the marriage has broken down. There have probably been many arguments about it before the couple even decide its time to separate. So, it does not need washing in public any further.
On this, we are all agreed that the cooling-off period between application to conditional offer has merits to allow couples to reflect and consider their positions. Then the extra six weeks between the granting of the conditional order to the making of the Final order have real benefits for the couples involved. In truth at this point, they will certainly know their true feelings for each other and if they do want to separate fully.
All this has real benefits, and this six-month period should be used wisely by everyone involved in the process.
If not and divorces are not routinely concluded in 6 months what is the point of calling them no-fault divorces. If the battle is still going on resolving financial settlements and arrangements for the children it does not matter who is to blame you are still in a battle.
This is where Fair Result believe the true landscape of divorce will not change and it’s not the fault of the legislation or the hopes of Parliament who created it – it will be the lawyers who just simply won’t work at the pace to get everything resolved in the same timescale. It has long been the view of the founders of Fair Result a lot of the polarisation often seen in divorcing couples is driven by their respective lawyers. Very often we speak to people who tell us they want to get rid of their lawyer but cannot because they have invested too much money with them but are still a million miles away from settling their divorce while lawyers send endless letters and emails to each other often about things that have no meaning to the real issues in hand.
Will these lawyers have any real incentives to conclude matters in 6 months?
No, because it will shorten their billing time for each case, reduce the time they can continually ask for payments on account and decide some area needs further investigation. We see already the plethora of blogs, tweets and Instagram posts all saying no-fault divorce is coming but you will still need “our” services to help you through the process. Really?
There is another way, but it needs a real change in the way divorces are dealt with. Let us use the no-fault divorce to really benefit separating couples all around and change the divorce landscape forever. Our model is amazingly simple and in time it will be the accepted norm. When we are engaged, we actively assess the full value of what is available for distribution between the couple and their children. We then assess what is fair for each party in line with the court’s view that a 50/50 split is the norm and quickly assess how this can be achieved for both parties. This is then communicated to the former partner or their lawyer if they have one and we plan for round the table discussion within a truly short period of time. Working quickly to assess what is available means our model and methods can easily resolve the whole of the divorce within the 6 months envisaged by the Divorce and Separation Act 2020. Let us just hope this is the case and a chance to really modernise the whole system is not lost by an old system just grinding on as it did before but without the tattle of who did what being an interesting side-line to what is enormously important to divorcing couples – making sure the children and cared for and splitting the assets fairly and quickly so, everyone can move on.
Telling you our fees right and the start – what you can expect for those fees and when they will become payable is the way we operate – no upfront costs, no hidden extras, no sudden shocks is our model and we aim to have it all resolved within the 6 moths Parliament expects – if lawyers for your ex-work alongside us and at the same pace.