Andy Stout, an experienced family law solicitor at Tallents Solicitors in Newark has called upon the government to commit to supporting reforms to the family justice system, including the introduction of no-fault divorce.

The call is part of a countrywide campaign by Resolution, the national family justice body, whose members work to help families to resolve their disputes constructively, keeping the best interests of any children involved at the forefront.

Fairness for Families

After vital legislation on divorce reform and protection for victims of domestic abuse fell by the wayside due to the General Election, Resolution, which represents 6,500 family justice professionals in England and Wales, called on candidates to pledge to support their urgent re-introduction in the new Parliament. They are also calling for legal protection for unmarried couples, and funding for early legal advice, as part of their ‘Fairness for Families’ manifesto.

Andy Stout, Partner and Family lawyer

Andy Stout

As a member of Resolution, Andy is committed to helping families resolve disputes as constructively as possible. Society is changing and the law needs to change with it.

If passed, the new family justice legislation will end the blame-game between divorcing couples as it will remove the need to prove that one of the partners is at fault. Andy notes that this current system forces couples to point the finger at each other, and for one partner to admit to a ‘fault’ or blame, if a divorce is to occur earlier than two years, causing acrimony and undue stress.

Proposals for change to the divorce system:

• retaining the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage as the sole ground for divorce
• replacing the requirement to provide evidence of a ‘fact’ around behaviour or separation with a requirement to provide a statement of irretrievable breakdown
• retaining the two-stage legal process currently referred to as decree nisi and decree absolute
• creating the option of a joint application for divorce, alongside retaining the option for one party to initiate the process
• removing the ability to contest a divorce
• introducing a minimum timeframe of 6 months, from petition stage to final divorce (20 weeks from petition stage to decree nisi; 6 weeks from decree nisi to decree absolute).

Aiming for a reduction in conflict when children are involved

The current legal framework restricts a couple’s ability to resolve a conflict constructively, which often leads to escalating tension with children caught in the midst of it. As a member of the Law Society’s Children Panel, Andy is especially keen to see a reduction in the stress placed on children during a divorce.

Advice and support is available

If any of these issues have touched you, then Andy and his team of experienced family lawyers across Newark, Southwell and Mansfield are available to discuss your personal circumstances in confidence. He is also a Resolution Accredited Family Law Specialist and has significant experience in mediation for separating couples.

Tallents Solicitors also run a free family law clinic at their Southwell office on Tuesday evenings from 5pm–7pm. No appointment is necessary in order to see a solicitor.