No Fault Divorce

Justine Soper

January 2021

Everyone at JLS Solicitors wishes you a very happy beginning to the year. We hope 2021 is better than the last!

Happy New Year!


Everyone at JLS Solicitors wishes you a very happy beginning to the year. We hope 2021 is better than the last! 


Regular readers will know that I am a strong advocate of No-Fault Divorce and the granting of Royal Assent for the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill was a definite bright spot last year. 


No-Fault Divorce took many long years of campaigning to achieve, however there have been other very significant changes to the way we reach divorce settlements and other family law agreements over recent years. When I started my legal career thirty five years ago the system was far more adversarial, however today there are a wide range of options available to divorcing couples, all of which endeavour to make the process less confrontational and more constructive; which is most definitely a good thing. 


Separation, and ultimately divorce, is not something any of us start off thinking we will go through. However, during these first weeks of the new year I will be contacted by many people who are looking to set divorce proceeding in motion, as this post-Christmas period is always a busy time for us. 


Where possible I always promote these newer dispute resolution options, with a Court action being the last resort. All of them are invariably quicker, more flexible and in turn cheaper, than the Court process. 


There are a range of dispute resolution options available to help you and the one that is right for you will depend on your own specific circumstances. Mediation is a structured, interactive process where an impartial third party, the Mediator, assists the couple in resolving conflict using specialised communication and negotiation techniques. 


Mediation works best where the couple still have good lines of communication and are comfortable discussing issues with the help of a third party – the Mediator. I am an accredited Family Mediator. 


In a Solicitors Negotiation I would be your voice, through which discussions and settlement negotiations take place. Clients who emotionally struggle to be directly involved in the negotiations may prefer this option; I can take the burden away. 


A Collaborative agreement involves four-way meetings with you, myself acting as your Collaborative Lawyer and your partner and their Collaborative Lawyer. All key discussions take place around a table with all four of us working together, collaboratively, to consider the options and find the best solution acceptable to you and your former partner. 


Arbitration is a procedure in which a dispute is submitted, by agreement of the parties, to an arbitrator who makes a binding decision on the dispute. I am also a practicing accredited Family Law Arbitrator. 


Finally, we have Early Neutral Evaluation in which one or more neutral experts review the merits of a dispute, or some aspect of it, providing the parties with an in-depth, considered but non-binding evaluation of their matter. This can often lead to successful settlement negotiations. 


If you need any advice or assistance concerning divorce or civil partnerships, please get in touch with either myself, Justine, or my colleague Dee. 


We offer a free initial 30-minute consultation either on Zoom or the phone.