BLAME games and arguments were the last thing Amanda Grace wanted as she split from the man she loved for 12 years.
When no-fault divorces became legal in April, the 42-year-old mother and personal trainer jumped at the chance to separate from her husband.
Caught in a loveless relationship for the past three years, she and her husband Ali had refused to end their marriage because legally someone should have been at fault for the breakup.
Amanda says, “We loved each other very much. But after having our two children, we settled into a routine of simple parenting
“Neither had committed adultery or inappropriate behavior — the criteria for a divorce — but we wanted to legally separate before our friendship went sour.
“So we gave up the idea and decided to stay married, but it was over.”
Historically, before a divorce could be granted, a spouse had to make allegations about the other’s behavior, such as B. unreasonable behavior or adultery.
But after 30 years of campaigning, the new No-Fault Divorce Act has put an end to that.
Neither party needs to point the finger of blame now and there is no need for an extended period of separation, meaning Amanda’s bond could be severed while the couple’s strong friendship remains intact.
The number of divorce filings is expected to hit a 50-year high in 2023, and experts are predicting a surge of 140,000 separations in England and Wales.
“Cruel and Inhuman”
Next Monday, January 9, “divorce day” was announced, the date when experts expect the most split investigations.
A staggering 33,566 people filed for divorce between April and June 2022, a fifth more than in the same period last year.
Milton Keynes, Bucks, mother-of-three Amanda isn’t surprised to hear about a surge in numbers.
She says: “To inflict the terror of people blaming and yelling retaliation at one another across a lawyer’s desk is cruel and inhuman.
“Thank God now there’s a way good people can get divorced without this bloodbath.
“Plus, no-fault divorces are cheaper because there’s no need to hire a lawyer — and a no-fault divorce takes about six months, while traditional divorces can take years.
“For me, a no-fault divorce was the only way to end my marriage.
“I started considering a legal separation in 2017 because I was concerned our dissatisfaction would affect the children.
“But the divorce criteria meant nothing worked for us.
“Then a no-fault divorce was filed, and in June I told Ali I wanted a divorce and applied for it online.
“We’re still friends, totally amicable. I live with the kids and Ali always takes care of them.
“Some nights he stays with me when I go out.
“If we had gone through a bitter divorce we wouldn’t have gotten along so well – which would have been horrible for the kids as we would end up hating each other.
“Unfortunately, if it wasn’t for guilt, we’d still be together.”
Leading Divorce Attorney Sophie Campbell-Adams of the law firm Britton & Time says: “The flawless option has definitely led to an increase in the number of people getting divorced.
“I’ve had several couples who initially wanted to separate early but asked to wait until April so they wouldn’t be ‘the bad guy’ and take the blame.”
Relationship psychologist Emma Kenny sees why no-fault divorces have led to breakups.
She says: “Activists have heralded no-fault divorces as the biggest divorce law upheaval in half a century and a ‘hallelujah moment’ for couples who want to separate without blame.
“That could be why divorce rates are skyrocketing. Suddenly you don’t have to have a reason to break up.”
Alongside the new guilt-free legislation, experts believe the rise in the cost of living has caused friction in thousands of marriages, leading to more legal breakups.
The effects of the pandemic lockdown, which is creating a tense environment for couples, has led to a rise in “grey divorces,” a term used to describe the end of decades-long marriages, alongside no-fault divorce law.
Claire Porter, Partner at national law firm SAS Daniels LLP, says: “With the average life expectancy in the UK being over 80 years, people are reconsidering their life plans and many envision a future alone or with a new partner who can fulfill them needs.
“The pandemic has likely made many realize the reality of their relationships, with marital issues exacerbated by the social distancing ‘pressure cooker’ environment.
“Additionally, no-fault divorce has made it easier for couples to separate.”
Someone who is not surprised by these circumstances, which are causing a jump in the number of long marriages, is Stacey Flinn-Scholfield.
The medical secretary, 38, of Darlington, Co Durham, ended her marriage to Paul, 42, after two decades.
She says: “When I saw the increase in the number of divorces, I nodded internally.
“After 20 happy years with my husband, I decided it was over.
“Forget the seven-year itch. It’s nothing compared to the increasing pressure of the cost of living and the incentive of not being at fault.
“I’m not the only one ending my very long relationship.
“The Office for National Statistics found that more people in their 50s are getting divorced today than in the 1980s and 1990s.
“Over the years I had gotten used to living without Paul, who was a soldier and working away. I’ve gotten used to being in charge and sorting the bills.
“After years of bonding and sharing our adorable 10-year-old son, Paul hammered the nail in the coffin of our marriage by asking us to start another DIY project.
“Started buying a new house in 2018 which may have been the route to divorce as the house was sucking up all of our income.
“Then one day Paul suggested we redo our driveway.
“That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I didn’t want to put any more money into the house. I knew it was over
“If I end up in a tiny apartment that you can’t swing a cat into, I’ll be happy because with the cost of living crisis, I don’t want financial ties anymore.”
Sophie Campbell-Adams says she can understand how rising inflation has lowered living standards and created unhappiness that is contributing to a rise in divorce rates.
She adds: “In addition to the pandemic causing relationships to end and spouses to divorce, the cost of living crisis is likely having an impact.
“Different approaches to managing finances can lead to disputes.
“For example, if one partner likes to budget cautiously while the other is more reckless, arguments will intensify when the money doesn’t stretch as far as it used to.”
Chef Ceci Zhang noted that rising expenses in the current financial crisis caused the end of their 14-year marriage.
The 45-year-old, who lives in Paddington, central London, says: “Divorces have skyrocketed and the cost of living will be a part of that – that’s about it for me.
“My now ex-husband worked in finance and before the pandemic the job was fine. But things changed.
“He decided to move to Greece, but since I work both as a model and as a chef, it would have destroyed my income opportunities.
“The cost of our twin bed went up and there was a lot of fighting over money.
“On the road to even bigger bills, now that I’m single, I’ve started renting out half of the property.
“I can make decisions about money alone, rather than trying to get others to agree with my financial decisions.
“I filed for divorce in February and it was finalized in November.
“I didn’t want to go through such a difficult financial time with someone who saw money differently than I do.”
- Additional Reporting: Alice McIntyre.
“Relationship Therapy Can Help”
With adultery likely to rise again next Monday on Divorce Day, psychologist Emma Kenny is offering a warning.
The expert says: “The last few years have created a perfect divorce storm.
“It’s understandable that many relationships have been tested to the limit.
“At times like this it can be easy to get blamed and we direct those frustrations onto our partners instead of accepting that life can be really challenging.
“While it’s great that people can leave relationships without pointing fingers, it’s also important to remember that great relationships survive despite challenges.
“So before you get divorced, why not consider relationship therapy that will allow you to consider other possible solutions?”
https://www.the-sun.com/lifestyle/7031520/no-fault-divorce-quick-online/ I’ve wanted to end my marriage for years – & because of a change in law I was able to do it online