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Family law specialist Lucy Hart from Sinclair Law Solicitors explains how a new law allowing for ‘no-blame’ divorces is helping couples separate on good terms, especially when there are children involved.

Divorce can be incredibly draining emotionally and financially. But a new law gives couples a better chance of separating on good terms.

In the 15 years I’ve been practicing family law I’ve seen nasty separations lead to serious communication problems and trauma for divorcees and any children involved.

A good divorce is possible – but you need to make sure you approach it in the right way. New legislation makes this much easier.

Before the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act (DDSA) arrived on April 6, a divorce was always started by one person.

It was up to them to prove the marriage was at the point of ‘irretrievable breakdown’ because of their partner’s adultery, unreasonable behaviour, long-term separation or desertion.

The problem was that establishing one of these reasons often soured everything that came after.

‘Pinning it on’ your partner starts a blame game, it can put them on the defensive and causes conflict where there doesn’t need to be any.

No-blame divorces are different. You don’t need to prove anything. All that’s required is a statement of irretrievable breakdown.

It can also be applied for jointly. So if you and your partner are both agree on the separation then you can do it collaboratively – which makes a massive difference for everyone involved.

A step forward, but no silver bullet

A no-blame divorce gives couples a better chance of separating on good terms.

It helps get things started on the right foot, but it doesn’t address the main things that couples fight over – money and children.

Finances and child arrangements can still be decided through court proceedings, but this presents another opportunity for conflict.

If you and your partner disagree about a financial settlement or childcare, you have a better chance of staying calm, diplomatic and friendly if you choose a collaborative approach to family law.

Sinclair Law Solicitors is a collaborate-first practice. This means that, whenever possible, we try to reach a fair and mutually acceptable arrangement through a series of meetings. Collaborative family law helps avoid the emotional and financial cost of ‘going to court’ and any decisions can be made legally binding through court orders.

Lucy Hart is a senior family law solicitor and director of Sinclair Law.

With offices in Wilmslow and Bramhall, Sinclair Law specialises in managing complex divorce cases, child arrangements and prenuptial agreements. For a free case review, call: 01625 526 222.

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