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What are the ramifications of no-fault divorce on Asian relationships?

No fault divorce

The UK’s new divorce legislation (the Divorce, Dissolution, and Separation Bill) was just confirmed to take effect in April 2022. The long-awaited revisions are intended to mitigate the impact of blame claims on a marriage and any children engaged in the process.

While marriage remains vital for many, it is especially holy in Asian societies, where breakup frequently results in substantial humiliation and bitterness. So, what does the new legislation mean for couples seeking an amicable divorce?

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How will no-fault divorce work?

Couples can now divorce without agreeing to remain apart for two years or proving their partner’s culpability. Only one person needed to want divorce, and their spouse cannot object.

The ability to file for a no-fault divorce saves spouses the emotional burden of blaming one other for an unreasonable behaviour petition or waiting two years to split on grounds of separation or five years if the other spouse does not consent.

Under the new rule, a divorce cannot be finalised in fewer than 26 weeks. While the existing legislation allows for shorter periods, it is rare for them to be fewer than four months, excluding time to address financial claims. As a result, the new system’s overall timeline will be similar to the old. A specified duration also allows parties to reflect on their choice to stop the marriage.


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Understanding the new law

The anticipated new rule would empower a spouse or joint pair to declare irretrievable breakdown, thereby removing the element of guilt. Additionally, the ability of one spouse to fight a divorce if the other spouse desires one will be eliminated.

Most significantly, it will impose a 20-week waiting period between the filing of the initial petition and the court’s issuance of the provisional divorce decree (the ‘decree nisi’). This will give an opportunity for couples to think and prepare for their futures.

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