No-fault divorce welcomed by West Midlands law firm

06 April 2022

The introduction of ‘no-fault divorce’ will reduce anger and enable separating couples to have constructive conversations about the future, a leading West Midlands family lawyer believes.

In what has been dubbed the biggest reform of divorce laws for 50 years, from tomorrow (Wednesday) couples no longer need to allocate blame to legally end their marriage.

A surge in applications from separating couples is expected as many intending to divorce have waited for the new laws to kick in.

Philip Barnsley, Head of the Family Law team at Higgs LLP, said the introduction of no-fault divorce was long overdue.

“No-fault divorce is something that the group Resolution has been campaigning in favour of for more than 30 years,” said Philip.

“Everyone in the Higgs family team is an active member of Resolution, so we have also been backing this from the start.

“Fundamentally, no-fault divorce brings about an end to the blame game. The knock-on effect of blame is anger – and that can have huge repercussions.

“When parties are in a situation where they have to set out in detail the reasons why they no longer want to be married, it’s hardly surprising that going on to have sensible discussions about arrangements for children are fraught with difficulty.

“We hope that with separating couples no longer needing to dredge up the past, it will allow them to focus on the more important aspects of their divorce.”

Sioned Fitt, Associate in the Higgs Family team, said no-fault divorce will allow couples to discuss their children’s futures more positively.

“Even with the best intentions, children can get lost in the noise, the anger, the resentment caused by couples having to set out their problems with the other and their behaviour within the marriage,” she said.

“This is going to put parties on a much better footing to have those conversations.

“The best thing that can be done with children in the context of divorce is to shield and reassure them, which is what the children are looking for.

“They will be frightened about what this is going to mean for them in the future. Will they get to see their parents? Are they still a family?

“Parents are now in a position where they can come at these conversations from a non-confrontational stance. Where there are amicable and constructive conversations, it is going to benefit all parties. Everyone will feel this is a decision which has been taken together.”

Higgs LLP is committed to seeking constructive resolutions wherever possible. This is evident by the fact that nationally around 35 per cent of divorce cases end in court hearings, whereas Higgs’ family team issues court proceedings in only around 4 per cent of cases.

Sioned said: “Divorce is usually a very stressful time. We encourage people to think about their objectives and to avoid kneejerk emotional decisions.

“Effective conversation to unearth the common objectives is absolutely crucial.”

Higgs is unique in that it provides bespoke, tailored divorce fees based on personal circumstances and desired objectives.

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