Divorces rise by almost 50% as 'no fault' law kicks in

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Ben Chapman

By Ben Chapman

Published: 15/04/2022

- 18:10

Updated: 14/02/2023

- 11:33

Since the rule change, around 3,000 couples have sought an end to their marriages

Divorce applications shot up by almost half, a week after the 'no fault' law came in, new figures show.

Since the rule change, around 3,000 couples have sought an end to their marriages.

The regulation amendments, which began last Wednesday in England and Wales, do not require couples to apportion blame.

Lawyers have said the new law resulted in 50 percent more divorce applications than in a typical week.

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The new divorce law was opposed by some Conservative backbenchers due to concerns over an immediate spike in applications for married couples to part ways.

Ministers and family lawyers say the law change allows couples to resolve their issues in an amicable manner, rather than possible conflict and affecting the upbringing of children.

Hannah Gumbrill-Ward, of the family team at law firm Winckworth Sherwood, told the Daily Mail: "It does seem that some people were holding out for the introduction of no fault divorce".

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The figure may have been artificially inflated by IT issues, according to insiders.

Whitehall officials revealed that there had been around 3,000 applications for divorce since the new regulations came into force last Wednesday.

This compares to last year's weekly average being around 2,072, with 107,724 divorce petitions filed last year in total.

Ms Gumbrill-Ward added: "It will be interesting to see how these figures pan out across the whole quarter, and whether this initial flurry slows down and levels out.

"Will the annual figures for 2022 see an increase because people wanted to avoid the blame game and start the process off on a more amicable footing? We will have to wait and see".

While the statistics represent a sharp rise in divorce applications, sources state that the system for recording divorces did not work the week before, meaning the 3,000 figure may represent a two-week total.

Final figures are expected to be released in June.

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