‘No fault divorce – do I need a lawyer?

What are the benefits of seeking legal advice on separation?’

With the introduction of ‘no fault’ divorce in April 2022, the divorce process became simplified for separated couples who wish to formalise their separation by way of a divorce. An application can either be made in sole or joint names with the applicant/s needing only to declare the marriage has irretrievably broken down, removing the need to give a reason for the breakdown of the marriage which often caused further anguish at a difficult time.  However, little has changed if the other party does not co-operate with the divorce and this is when you will need to consider instructing a divorce lawyer.

Whilst separated couples can now choose to progress the divorce themselves, without the assistance of family lawyers, the importance of a family lawyer advising on the financial issues arising from a marriage breakdown is often overlooked to a party’s detriment.

Formalising separation by way of a Final Order in divorce proceedings does not dismiss the financial claims spouses have against one another arising from their marriage. These can only be dismissed upon ‘clean break’ Court Order, remarriage or death. Obtaining legal advice regarding financial rights as soon as possible can be a huge benefit to separating couples who wish to reach a financial agreement.

The involvement of a family lawyer allows a party to obtain important advice in respect of the financial issues which may be complex depending on the assets of the marriage and needs of the parties. Family lawyers can advise on the factors to be taken into consideration (per s.25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973), as well as the parties’ current financial circumstances, future needs and how these factors may affect how the assets are to be shared between the parties.

Those who do not obtain legal advice may overlook or disregard pension provision which could have a detrimental impact on their future financial circumstances. Where there is significant pension provision parties should consider obtaining advice from a pension expert as to how any pension provision should be shared as it may not be as simple as to consider the value of any pensions when agreeing how to share them. We can put you in touch with those experts who can provide a report setting out the pension sharing options available.

Obtaining legal advice does not prevent separated couples from continuing discussions between themselves regarding the division of matrimonial assets and receiving legal advice at an early stage can help separated couples reach an informed financial agreement swiftly.

The initial costs of obtaining legal advice may seem an unnecessary expense but can ultimately save separated couples money in the long run.  The family team at Rudlings is experienced in advising clients in respect of financial matters and are committed to providing clear, constructive advice. We are offering a discounted rate of £100 plus vat for our initial meetings for the month of January 2023.


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