18 August 2022

Heralded as the long overdue, new divorce procedure introduced on 6 April 2022, has been running for 3 months. But what does it mean in practice?

Getting a divorce is simpler but slower. Last year it might be possible to complete a divorce within 4 months if the issues were straightforward. Now the law requires a waiting period of 20 weeks minimum before the applicant can apply for the Conditional Order in the divorce. There is another 6 weeks to obtain the Final Order, so divorces now take a minimum of 6 months to complete, but this can be longer. The waiting periods are intended to give time for reflection and may be used to try and negotiate a final financial settlement or arrangements for children.

Same sex couples can use the new online court portal for dissolution proceedings. Prior to the new law the dissolution process was subject to the worst of the court delays.

Most people negotiate and agree Financial Consent Orders. The last quarterly Family Court statistics released by confirmed that 75% of Financial Remedy applications were uncontested.

A concern for specialist Family Law solicitors is that valuable financial benefits may be lost for those divorcing without getting sound, clear, legal advice on getting a formal financial settlement. We are aware that research indicates that divorced women lag behind their married counterparts when it comes to pension and property wealth (Royal London issued 7/1/19).

When the Final Order is made in divorce entitlements can be lost, including rights over the matrimonial home, pension rights and inheritance status changes. Especially after a long marriage, these can be very valuable assets and it is vital that specialist legal advice is sought regarding implications of divorce. Often it is essential to protect individuals that the making of the final divorce order is delayed until a financial settlement is agreed and approved in a Court consent order.

It is sensible to obtain legal advice from a matrimonial solicitor who will take a constructive approach to assist both parties to be able to move on with their lives, by negotiation and a fair settlement.

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