Getting divorced is one of the most stressful things a person can go through. Both the process of getting divorced and living life after divorce can affect your mental health, with studies showing that some divorced people can experience higher rates of depression compared to married people. No one wants to make divorce any more difficult than it needs to be, which is why a no-fault divorce can be a lifesaver for many couples. No-fault divorces are relatively new, introduced only in April 2022 and help to simplify the divorce process for separating couples in the UK.
Divorce before the introduction of the no-fault divorce
Before the new no-fault divorce law was brought in, the rules for divorce were much more restrictive. It was required for fault to be assigned to either person for couples that wanted to start the divorce process right away. This meant that you had to have a specific reason for filing for divorce and these reasons were very limited. The breakdown of the marriage had to be due to adultery, desertion, or unreasonable behaviour. Otherwise, the couple was required to be separated for two years, if both parties were in agreement about the divorce, or five years if there was disagreement.
These restrictive requirements made divorce much more stressful for many couples. Not all couples could or wanted to assign blame to one party. Having to be separated for at least two years was also a stressful option, which can prevent people from truly moving on. Assigning blame to one party during a legal process, even if one or both people might have conducted themselves less than desirably, can cause anger and resentment during an already stressful time.
How the no-fault divorce is better for mental health
The no-fault divorce removes the requirement to assign blame or fault to one party or identify a reason for divorce. This can help to remove some of the anger and resentment that might arise from having to assign blame. Additionally, the divorce process can be made faster for those couples who don’t want to assign blame or wait until they have been separated for the required amount of time. Thanks to the no-fault divorce, the new minimum wait between the divorce application and conditional order (formerly decree nisi) is now 20 weeks. The whole divorce process can be completed in around six months.
At the same time, some people might feel aggrieved by not having the chance to assign blame and air their feelings of hurt or betrayal. However, it’s important to recognise the benefit of other avenues of support, outside of the legal process of divorce, such as seeking therapy.
Talk to our legal experts
World Mental Health Day is coming up on the 10th of October. If you are looking for support and advice regarding divorce, put your mental health first and get in touch with us to ask about no-fault divorce. Book a free consultation by calling our Newton Abbot office on 01626 333 380 or our Tiverton branch on 01884 21 24 00.