New Act will slow divorce proceedings

SOLICITORS Family Law Association (SFLA) chairman David Salter is warning that the end of quick divorces in England and Wales will cause international clients to “forum shop”, or seek divorce abroad.

The Family Law Act, due to come into force next Spring, replaces the existing fault-based divorce laws with “no fault” provisions, which require couples to undergo mediation.

Divorces currently take about five months, but will take 12 months or 18 months if the couple have children, under the new procedures.

Salter predicts the “biggest public outcry since the Child Support Act” when the new rules begin.

He warns: “The British are used to quick divorces, and the procedures will become so much slower.

“If people can establish connections in other countries where divorce takes less time, such as the US, then they will go ahead and do so.”

Last year, SFLA members reported a rise in the number of couples filing for divorce on the grounds of adultery or unreasonable behaviour.