NFM says it had a surge in enquiries from couples dealing with ‘highly emotive topics’ post No-Fault legislation
Divorce applications reached their highest level for a decade earlier this year, to coincide with the introduction of no-fault legislation which was introduced in England and Wales in April 2022.
According to the recent data from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), there were 33,566 divorce applications in April to June, with the majority being submitted under the new legislation which allows couples to go through proceedings without apportioning blame.
Following the release of the figures, campaigners are now calling for more to be done to prepare couples for what comes next, including the division of assets, pensions, child arrangements, sharing pets and agreeing who gets the family home.
Jane Robey, the CEO of the charity National Family Mediation (NFM), said: “No Fault divorce is great, but if we don’t start to move the conversation on, we run the very real risk of misleading the people into believing that all of their marital woes can be over at the click of a button.
“Instead, we need to be promoting and preparing couples for what comes next, including the division of assets, pensions, child arrangements, sharing pets and agreeing who gets the family home.
“These are all highly emotive topics, and families need more reassurance that there are organisations and mechanisms available to support them with this stage of proceedings, such as the Government Mediation Voucher Scheme, and Legal Aid.
“Indeed, once the legislation came into force we saw a surge in enquiries from individuals who were blindsided by the divorce application, and who needed help to work through all of these important matters.
“Given we now have the data to show that the number of marital breakdowns is on the up, if we don’t start to do more to promote services such as mediation Ministers might find that this popular legislation has backfired, with overflowing courts unable to cope and parties to the divorce being left exposed and families left financially vulnerable.”