This Monday has ominous distinction of being most popular day of year to contact a lawyer and inquire about divorceBy Toby Walne, Fina
This Monday has ominous distinction of being most popular day of year to contact a lawyer and inquire about divorce
Tomorrow has the ominous distinction of being the most popular day of the year to contact a lawyer and inquire about divorce.
But if feuding couples can grit their teeth for a little while longer after ‘Divorce Day’, it could save them thousands of pounds in fees.
The stress of Christmas, followed by money concerns and thoughts about the future, can create a volatile cocktail – sometimes pushing relationships to breaking point.
Broken hearted: From April 6, the biggest shake-up in divorce laws for 50 years comes into effect
Some 100,000 couples get divorced each year. And from April 6, the biggest shake-up in divorce laws for 50 years comes into effect, allowing married and civil partnership couples to obtain a divorce without having to blame anyone.
It will cut lengthy and expensive legal wrangling over who is to blame for a relationship falling apart – and negate the need to cite factors such as adultery, unreason able behaviour or being separated for more than two years.
Where currently only one spouse can apply for a divorce, from April both parties will be able to make a joint application for an amicable split that will cost much less.
With legal bills of up to £400 an hour for those wanting a divorce, the change could save couples thousands of pounds, allowing a divorce to be agreed for as little as £300.
The change will also sweep away Latin jargon. For example, the first stage of divorce is today referred to as ‘decree nisi’ but will soon be known as ‘conditional order’.
Prabhleen Kundhi, a divorce and finance solicitor for IBB Law, says: ‘The abandonment of fault-blamed divorce is welcome. It should negate the need for difficult conversations in often emotional situations.
‘Instead, couples will be able to focus more on issues such as children and the arrangement of their future finances. It will remove an often costly part of separation.’
Two out of ten marriages in England and Wales currently end in divorce. The divorce rate rose by almost a fifth in 2019 and lockdown might have increased it further.
For details on the cheapest way to divorce in England and Wales, visit Government website gov.uk/ divorce. The system is different in Scotland, where couples can already agree to a simple ‘do it yourself’ divorce. Forms are available from Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service at scotcourts.gov.uk.