Disappointing news. The start date for ‘no fault’ divorce has been pushed back from October 2021 to April 2022. Disappointing but from the point of view of solicitors, not surprising. The new court rules and court forms are not ready. The digital divorce system is not ready – and there have been a few problems with the solicitors version of that. Won’t bore you with them but let’s just say that one of those squidgy stress ball things come in very handy in those moments. Together with chocolate.
So, what’s the alternative? Well, we are left with the current law. It’s not great – that’s why it is being changed but it is not unworkable. Most divorce petitions, in my experience, are the ‘behaviour’ ones. Whilst one of you still has to ‘point the finger’/criticise the other person, it can still be done with dignity and kindness. Imagine the shock of a divorce petition landing on the mat with no warning or sneaking off and doing it when you’ve had a letter from your spouse’s solicitor. That sets the whole tone for how things will be dealt with and it is not pleasant. I have long thought that the breakdown of a marriage is similar to a death in the way that it affects each person. There is definitely a grieving process for a lost relationship and loss of what might have been. Trust between you both may well be thin on the ground. Lack of effective communication is surely the petrol on the bonfire of grief.
Now compare that with adding in a bit of civility – kindness or good manners if you will. It won’t always be possible, I accept that, but how different could it be if you tell your spouse that you want to start divorce proceedings, you show then a draft copy of the divorce petition, you agree who is paying for what or how you are sharing costs, you tell them when the papers are submitted – how much better is that as a start? And via your solicitor if you can’t /don’t want to do it yourself. That then sets a completely different tone to the trickier stage of sorting out the arrangements for the children and the finances.
Being kind but firm has to be the way to progress, in my view. FYI, it is also the least expensive…..Want big legal bills? Start arguing over everything. Remember that you loved each other once – enough to get married. Okay, things have not worked out but that doesn’t cancel out the good times and if you have children, you will always be linked via your children. So much better to be on civil terms than have your children worrying about you coming face to face.
No fault divorce is part of the solution but the biggest part is you and how you respond in the new situation you are in. If you are not sure what to do, contact me.