Family Team Newsletter - September 2020

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CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

GELDARDS’ Whilst the Geldards’ family team are working from home, it is still very much business as usual!


NO FAULT DIVORCE

It is finally here! In June 2020, after more than two years of consultation, the Government announced it would pass the “Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020.”

So what does this mean? At present, the law on divorce (in respect of opposite sex couples) is governed by the “Matrimonial Causes Act 1973”, a four decade old piece of legislation. The Act provides one ground for divorce which is irretrievable breakdown of marriage (not “irreconcilable differences” as used by our American friends). This must be proven by one of five facts which are:

  • Adultery (cannot be used by same sex couples) ;
  • Unreasonable behaviour;
  • 2 years separation with consent;
  • 5 years separation without consent;
  • Desertion.

You will see that the first two facts (which are the facts most relied on) provide that one person is at fault for the divorce. The new legislation will remove this and mean that people can divorce without the need to prove fault. The legislation will also remove the risk of your spouse contesting/defending the divorce and it will allow you both to apply together. At the moment only one person can apply. This is a very welcome change to the existing rules.


 

REMOTE COURT CASES

A note to those in current proceedings: Many of the courts in England and Wales are still operating. However, they are finally catching up with modern technology and offering remote hearings as opposed to physical hearings whilst the COVID-19 pandemic continues to dominate our lives.

If you are currently in court proceedings, your hearing may take place via telephone, Skype or the court’s new Cloud Video Platform which has now been implemented by most courts in England and Wales.

There are of course advantages and disadvantages to remote hearings. One of the advantages is that you usually have an allocated time for your hearing. As many people who have had experience of court proceedings will know, although your case may be listed for 10:00am, the chances are the judge hearing your case at 10 are remote. You may be waiting at court for some hours. If you have instructed a solicitor or a barrister (or both) this could be costly. With remote hearings, you are provided with a set time and your hearing usually takes place at that time without the needing to wait.

One of the disadvantages is that many people feel much more comfortable being able to give evidence at a physical hearing. It is also easier for the judge to see how you react and answer questions.

If you are in current proceedings and require assistance, please contact us.


 

TEAM NEWS

ON 19 JULY 2020, OUR ASSOCIATE SOLICITOR IN THE FAMILY TEAM KATE KEENAN WELCOMED A BEAUTIFUL BABY GIRL INTO THE WORLD. CONGRATULATIONS KATE.

If you have any questions on the above, do not hesitate to get in contact with our Family Team who will be able to assist you further.

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