Divorce applications ‘highest for decade’ - Katie O'Callaghan comments in the Evening Standard - Boodle Hatfield

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29 Sep 2022

Divorce applications ‘highest for decade’ – Katie O’Callaghan comments in the Evening Standard

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Divorce applications have reached their highest level for a decade as no-fault legislation was introduced in England and Wales, figures show. There were 33,566 divorce applications in April to June – with the majority under the new legislation and from sole applicants, according to data from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

On April 6, new legislation came into effect enabling couples to go through proceedings without apportioning blame, with a statement of irretrievable breakdown, made either individually or together, seen as “conclusive evidence”. The change also introduced a new minimum period of 20 weeks, for “meaningful” reflection, between starting proceedings and applying for a conditional order.

It is the first time the impact of the law change has been seen in the quarterly MoJ family court statistics. They show that the number of divorce applications between April and June rose to the highest level since the first quarter of 2012 – more than a decade ago – and is up 22% from the same period in 2021. Of the applications between April and June, the vast majority (33,234) were made under the new law. More than three-quarters (78%) of these applications were by sole applicants. Under the old divorce law, there were 19,758 decree absolutes (final orders) granted in April to June, down 35% from the same quarter in 2021.

Katie O’Callaghan, partner at Boodle Hatfield,

said she might have expected to see a greater proportion of joint applications, with the new law enabling couples to feel they could approach divorce “on an equal footing”.

She said: “However, it isn’t uncommon for individuals to seek catharsis by being the one in the driving seat – particularly where they are no longer able to place blame in their divorce application.

“Making an application on a sole basis may help to achieve a sense of closure, especially if they feel that they were the ‘wronged party’.”

Read the full article in Evening Standard here.

ivorce applications have reached their highest level for a decade as no-fault legislation was introduced in England and Wales, figures show. There were 33,566 divorce applications in April to June – with the majority under the new legislation and from sole applicants, according to data from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).