Events & News News Chamber News Possible Changes to Matrimonial Law During 2018 Research shows that many couples make a decision to separate long before the Christmas season is upon them, but decide to put things on hold until after the holiday season has ended. As a result January can be a busy time for divorce lawyers everywhere. Perhaps it is the added pressures on families over the Christmas holiday season, which can be immense. Finances are stretched often beyond breaking point, the television is full of idealised couples showering each other with romantic gifts, and of course spending more time than usual with the in-laws can create or add to tensions between partners. Liz Graham, Head of Family Law at Chattertons Solicitors and Wealth Management puts pen to paper and looks at ways in which matrimonial law may change in 2018… In many ways the New Year is a time to take stock and do things differently or make a change, and this applies equally to personal resolutions and to wider changes in the law, matrimonial laws included. In England and Wales there are still only five ways to get a divorce and three of those involve living separately for at least two years. If a person wants to get divorced without waiting for two years to pass, the petition has to be prepared on the basis of adultery or unreasonable behavior. This means that one person has to ‘blame’ the other. However pressure is mounting for a ‘no fault’ divorce to be put in place which overcomes this need for blame. This would be a major change to current practice and would enable couples to separate amicably within a shorter time frame. Perhaps 2018 might see further developments here. Another possible change to the law may be in relation to how cohabitants are dealt with when a relationship ends. Family law that fails to recognise the rights of cohabiting couples in the same way as those of married couples is out of date. As Parliament continues to consider the rights of unmarried couples, 2018 might see measures put in place to provide more protection for cohabitees. After all, cohabitational relationships are the fastest growing type of family unit in the UK. Whatever 2018 may bring in terms of change and development you may have the need to speak to a specialist now or at any time over the coming year. Liz and her team are here to help. With eight offices across Lincolnshire and Newark Chattertons Solicitors & Wealth Management are always accessible, reliable and trustworthy. Find out more about their Family law offering and other services via www.chattertons.com, alternatively please call 01476 591 550 to speak with Liz Graham.