How the wealthy untie the knot: No-fault divorces rise among UHNWs - Boodle Hatfield

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06 Jan 2023

How the wealthy untie the knot: No-fault divorces rise among UHNWs

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James Ferguson View profile
2 min read

In Tatler, Family and Divorce Partner, James Ferguson shares his insights on the impact of ‘no-fault’ divorce law that was introduced in England and Wales in April 2022.

James Ferguson says: most old-fashioned fault based divorces were never generally litigated to a final hearing anyway ‘because most sensible couples were always keen to avoid what potentially would be an open court hearing.’ He added, ‘In 40 years of practicing family law, I have only ever had one case that went as far as a defended divorce final hearing. This attracted the unwelcome interest of journalists who were given free access to the court hearing and when the judge eventually determined that the marriage had broken down as a consequence of my client's spouse's behaviour, she also had to face making a very substantial contribution towards my client's six figure costs as a consequence of her failure to persuade the judge that her marriage had not broken down and had not done so because of her conduct.’

The principal drawback of the new no-fault system is the 20 week cooling off period that follows the commencement of the proceedings ‘meaning it will undoubtedly take more than six months to complete the divorcing process.’ He also notes the possible emotional effects, ‘many spouses used to enjoy the psychological benefit of a judicial determination that it was their spouse's conduct that caused their marriage to fail.’

For more information on the legalisation change that took place in April 2022, take a look of the series of insights below.

In 40 years of practicing family law, I have only ever had one case that went as far as a defended divorce final hearing. This attracted the unwelcome interest of journalists who were given free access to the court hearing and when the judge eventually determined that the marriage had broken down as a consequence of my client's spouse's behaviour, she also had to face making a very substantial contribution towards my client's six figure costs as a consequence of her failure to persuade the judge that her marriage had not broken down and had not done so because of her conduct.’

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