Home Family & Relationship New Divorce Hotspots Revealed: Could New Divorce Law Be Contributing to Numbers?

New Divorce Hotspots Revealed: Could New Divorce Law Be Contributing to Numbers?

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New data from ONS has revealed the number of divorces by area across the UK, with Norwich (12.8%) and Blackpool (12.1%) recording the most over the past year. 

The new figures come after applications for the new no-fault divorce law hit a record high last September, with 33,234 applications made across England and Wales – this is up by 22% during the same period in 2012. 

Senior lecturer and former law firm partner Jonny Hurst at BPP University Law School is unsurprised by the flurry of applications. They vouch that the law has made it much easier for couples to agree on finances, assets and their children’s future.

“For couples who want to make a clean break without the drama and mess a divorce can cause, this law provides a humane exit route. Highlighting the unnecessary distress and delay caused by the old blame-based system, one partner, or both acting together, can now file for divorce without giving a reason or apportioning blame.

One in five British adults admit to having had an affair; however, ending ‘the blame game’  helps people rebuild their lives and protect children. One of the biggest hurdles in the process is the involvement of children and money. However, judges now step in to resolve disputes over children, maintenance or the just division of wealth.

“Divorce can also be a lengthy process- which many couples will want over and done with. Usually, there is a 20-week period between when proceedings begin and applying for a conditional order- along with a further six-week period before a divorce is granted. The no-fault divorce law has set a less bitter tone and culture, allowing couples and lawyers to focus more on resolving financial and children matters – the things that matter the most.”

What rights do you have with the new no-fault divorce law?

The introduction of no-fault divorce this April has been the most significant change to divorce law since 1969. The law means that couples can get divorced without one person needing to blame the other. This change also applies to civil partnership dissolution. It is also no longer possible to contest a divorce or civil partnership dissolution- unless it’s based on jurisdiction.

Here is a breakdown of the divorce law reforms

Divorce can be granted without one person blaming another

Removing fault or blame from the divorce process is the most important element of a no-fault divorce. Couples can get divorced solely because the marriage has broken down without citing one of the 5 reasons previously required.

It is no longer possible to contest a divorce

One of the most significant changes from the law reform is that a divorce or civil partnership dissolution can only be contested based on jurisdiction. Under the old system, one person would submit a divorce petition citing their spouse’s behaviour or a period of separation as the reason for the divorce, and their spouse could contest this.

Couples can apply for divorce jointly

Under the old divorce laws, just one person needed to issue divorce proceedings against the other, being called the petitioner.  However, under the no-fault divorce system, the application can either be made by one person (called the applicant) or both people can make the application jointly.

A 26-week minimum timeframe between the application and the final order

A minimum timeframe of 20 weeks has been introduced between the application being submitted and the final order being applied for.  This minimum timeframe of 20 weeks also applies between the application being issued and the conditional order being applied for. 

Then, a further six-week and one-day period must pass between the condition order and the application for the final order. This timeframe has been introduced to counter concerns that the reforms would make divorce a quicker and easier option for couples than trying to save their relationship.

Divorce terminology has been updated

The person applying for the divorce is now called the applicant instead of the petitioner. While the decree nisi is now called the conditional order, and the decree absolute is now called the final order.

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