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Insights // 11 January 2022

Family Law in 2022 - The Year Ahead

The start of a New Year is often a time for reflection on the past 12 months and consideration of what we can expect from the year to come. Senior solicitor Rebecca Ledgerwood, in our leading Family Law team, looks at what lies ahead in the field of Family Law in 2022.

No fault divorce

After many years of campaigning by family practitioners, in April 2022 we expect to see the enactment of legislation to put in place a ‘no fault’ divorce system. This new system eliminates the concept of ‘fault’ within divorce proceedings. The aim is to reduce hostility between separating couples in order to set a more constructive foundation for communication when dealing with the financial aspects of separation and arrangements for children. Family lawyers welcome this development which marks a radical change to the divorce process.

Out of court dispute resolution

The Family Courts remain under pressure, with a large volume of cases and limited resources to hear them. Pressures on the court system worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. The courts largely switched over to hearing cases online, but are now hearing some cases in person. There can often be long delays in between hearings and it is not unusual for cases to be vacated at the last minute due to lack of judicial availability. These delays mean proceedings may take years rather than months to complete. This can be incredibly frustrating for parties involved and serves to escalate costs.

In order to deliver and achieve resolution in a cost effective and expeditious manner, out of court resolution options such as mediation, collaborative process, arbitration and private hearings such as private FDRs continue to be recommended to clients in order to avoid the court system. Over the next 12 months there is likely to be a continued increase in the use of these methods to resolve disputes. We can assist with all of these methods of family dispute resolution.

Litigants in person

In recent years there has been an increase in the trend for parties to represent themselves in family related proceedings including divorce, financial remedy and children matters. It is anticipated that this trend will continue going forward in the year ahead. Many individuals who take on the court system themselves struggle with the systems and procedures, as well as grappling with the law. Thus, we recommend that even if you choose to represent yourself in court it is worth taking good quality legal advice in the background, so that you understand the law relating to your case and can benefit from our experience of how best to present your case. 

For further information or legal advice, please contact law@blandy.co.uk or call 0118 951 6800. 

This article is intended for the use of clients and other interested parties. The information contained in it is believed to be correct at the date of publication, but it is necessarily of a brief and general nature and should not be relied upon as a substitute for specific professional advice.

Rebecca Ledgerwood

Rebecca Ledgerwood

Associate Solicitor, Family Law

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