Your Divorce in 2020
Breaking news! Divorce in the new decade is likely to look very different from a legal perspective. And it’s a good thing. But sadly, it’s unlikely that your divorce in 2020 will benefit.
On 7 January 2020 the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill re-entered Parliament. Its main aim is to change divorce law to reduce the anger and tension provoked by the current system. At present unless spouses live separately for over two years (if both agree to the divorce) or five (if one does not agree), the reason for divorce has to be pinned on one of the parties – usually through ‘unreasonable behaviour’.
This results in one spouse being forced to blame the other for the breakdown of the marriage, and for the divorce to go through smoothly, for the other party to not challenge the fault. The language of fault and blame readily inflames tempers at a time when emotions are already fraught.
An end to the ‘blame game’
The new system will allow divorce on the basis of one person making a statement of irretrievable breakdown. It doesn’t need both of you to agree. If you are trapped in a marriage and your spouse is refusing to divorce, despite your separation, as in the famous case of Tini Owens, you will no longer need to wait for five years.
There will also likely be a minimum of 20 weeks between the initial petition (the statement of irretrievable breakdown) and the court granting the provisional decree of divorce (the decree nisi). This is intended to allow time for mediation, reflection and informed decision-making about the future.
These changes are welcome and long overdue. Stripping the reasons for divorce back to irretrievable breakdown makes the process simpler, and in all likelihood, cheaper, as divorces won’t be contested. Crucially, removing fault from the process and enabling divorce to go ahead on the basis of one person’s statement will make leaving emotionally and physically safer for many divorcing people.
Couples won’t have to face the additional agonies of blaming one party adding to the angst and distress before the divorce has even got off the ground. Instead, they can start the proceedings jointly if they wish, and concentrate on the practical aspects of divorce and planning for the future – including making arrangements for any children.
Will divorce be easier?
We are unlikely to see these changes come into effect in 2020. Your divorce in 2020 is almost certainly going to be the same as in 2019.
We all hope this new process (when it comes), will turn down the heat of divorce proceedings, and instead invite a spirit of collaboration where possible, especially when it comes to parenting, and making child-focussed decisions. This is definitely a positive move.
However. Some things will stay the same. Divorce will always be tough. No law can change how you feel about the end of your marriage and the reasons you are where you are. That sense of grief will still be there. The need to unpick finances, practical arrangements and work out a plan for your future as a single person will still be there. The emotional, logistical and practical needs of the children won’t go away.
So, in many respects, divorce will still feel difficult. It is never an easy path to walk, though sometimes, it’s a right and necessary one
Your divorce is up to you
It’s important to remember that the government and legislature can only do so much.
What your divorce looks like in 2020 is also up to you.
What action steps will you take? How will you view yourself? Victim or empowered woman?
What power games will you engage with? Will you let your ex call the shots or will you be CEO of your divorce?
Will your divorce story be about you as an action taker or will it be all about what happened to you? Are you willing to accept that divorce could be happening for you and not to you? Your divorce happening for you means it’s to your benefit – your emotional and financial freedom. Releasing you to a new life.
That doesn’t mean it won’t feel hard. It doesn’t mean you won’t feel sad. You’re allowed to feel all the feelings. And you are allowed to take the action you need to take.
Get Divorce Ready Live
Get Divorce Ready Live is the event that’s happening for you, this weekend. It brings me, financial and legal experts, and a group of action-taking women into the same room so you can take the next step (or next twenty steps) on your own divorce path. Your divorce in 2020 really can be supported.
Every divorce is different. Everyone has different questions and everyone’s at different stages. That’s why I’m keeping numbers for this day small – it’s a chance for you to get real, specific, answers to your real, specific questions, rather than sit hundreds of metres away from a stage of experts talking to a packed hall.
Is Get Divorce Ready Live for you?
Feeling like divorce is the next step, need to explore options, but not had the conversation with your spouse yet? Get Divorce Ready Live is for you.
Left and thinking ‘what now?!’? Get Divorce Ready Live is for you.
Embroiled in paperwork and worried you’ll make a mistake that could cost you big? Get Divorce Ready Live is for you.
Co-parenting was straightforward(ish) when you first separated but as time has gone on, communication with your ex is strained and you want to make sure the children come first? Get Divorce Ready Live is for you.
Can’t afford legal representation (though your ex has a fancy solicitor) and intimidated by the process? Get Divorce Ready Live is for you.
It’s a whole day in the room with experts, for less than the cost of an hour with a solicitor. And you get refreshments throughout the day, a two-course lunch, fizz at the end, as well as the opportunity to create supportive networks with other women (priceless).
This really is a no-brainer. Grab your ticket here.
And if you’re not sure whether it’s for you – send me a message. I don’t do the hard sell. There are limited tickets and for the event to be as successful as possible those places need to go to the women who will definitely benefit.
Supporting you to support yourself
Being a divorce coach it’s my role to support you to support yourself. I’m here to empower you, not to save you – you don’t need saving. We all, however, need support from time to time!
I can’t read my blogs or my book for you. I can’t do the research you need to do for yourself. What I have done is make the information available and encourage you to do all of those things so you become knowledgeable in your own situation.
It’s not possible for me to work with everyone 1:1 but it is possible for me to create group programmes and events which keeps costs down for you and allows me to work with more ladies just like you. It’s a win-win.
We all want to talk ourselves out of change
Get Divorce Ready Live is my first live event. It’s exciting and scary for me! Of course, my ego is having a field day about it – I’ve shared before that my mind monkeys are just the same as yours (and everyone else’s):
“What are you doing that for?”
“You’ll lose money! No one will come. It’ll be a flop!”
“Who do you think you are?”
I’ve had and continue to have them all! But that’s only the same as when I started the Divorce Alchemist and I taught myself to build this website you’re on now! It’s just the same as when I started the Absolute Academy or wrote my book.
Those mind monkeys are always there and always will be. I’ve learned to thank them and do it anyway! It’s the same with your divorce. Your mind monkeys will have numerous field days and you’ll want to quit. You’ll tell yourself you’ll wait.
But where does that leave you? Reading this blog in six months’ time, or next year, thinking “Maybe I should just wait until…”.
Be an action taker
Maybe you should take action and see how things feel once you’ve taken that step. Maybe you should put yourself first. You could get yourself informed, inspired, supported (as well as fed and looked after!) for what it costs to sit down with a solicitor for an hour. You could leave the day with answers and a plan (not just in your head – written down. I have a workbook to guide you through!).
If you’re serious about divorce in 2020, come join me on 18 January and let’s get your questions answered. I’m looking forward to seeing you.
Emma Heptonstall, the Divorce Alchemist is author of the Amazon best selling book How to be a Lady Who Leaves, the Ultimate Guide to Getting Divorce Ready. A former lawyer, Emma is a family mediator and founder of Get Divorce Ready the online self-study and group programmes. Emma has been featured on BBC Radio, The Telegraph, the iPaper and in Marie Claire Magazine. To find out more visit www.emmaheptonstall.com