Divorce: It’s No-one’s Fault

In April 2019 the government announced they will introduce legislation so that divorcing couples will no longer have to prove fault.

Following on from the Supreme Court ruling in the Owens case and a consultation last Autumn, in April 2019 the government announced they will introduce legislation so that divorcing couples will no longer have to prove fault.

Where we are now

Currently under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 the divorcing party has to evidence at least one of five ‘facts’:
• Adultery
• Unreasonable behaviour
• Desertion
• Two years’ separation (if the other spouse consents to the divorce), or
• Five years’ separation (if the other spouse disagrees).

Where we will be

The new proposal provides that irretrievable breakdown of a marriage will be retained as the sole ground for divorce. The requirement to provide evidence of a ‘fact’ will be replaced with a requirement to provide a statement of irretrievable breakdown.

The two-stage process of Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute will be retained. A minimum timeframe of six months will be introduced, from petition stage to final divorce.

This much needed decision will help to cut some of the conflict from what can be a highly stressful experience and especially will allow separating parents to focus on the needs of their children instead of proving a fault-based fact against their former partner.
The announcement states that the legislation will be introduced ‘as soon as parliamentary time allows’ so it could still be some time yet as we all know that Brexit is taking up a lot of time at the moment.

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James Atkins

Associate Solicitor

James is a private client solicitor specialising in wills, trusts, powers of attorney and estate administration. He graduated from the University of Glasgow with a degree in English Literature in 2013 and went on to complete his law conversion course at BPP University. 

James trained at Baron Grey and after a sabbatical in Russia has recently re-joined the firm. James has a very friendly and approachable manner and is an asset to Baron Grey.

Lara Symons

Solicitor

Lara Symons qualified as a solicitor in 1997 and has specialised in all aspects of Immigration Law since then. Lara was formally the head of the Immigration Appeals Team at White Ryland Solicitors in Shepherds Bush, before moving to Spain for four years with her family.

Lara joined Baron Grey in 2013 and now works for the firm dealing with a wide range of immigration and probate matters.

Minnie Waite

Conveyancer

Minnie Waite joined Baron Grey in 2017 as a conveyancer having worked in the City for many years.

She has over 20 years’ experience in dealing with all aspects of conveyancing transactions and has studied the License Conveyancing course. Minnie specialises in freehold/leasehold, enfranchisement, has some commercial experience and advises on mortgages.

She is extremely approachable and friendly and a great addition to the Baron Grey team.

Ben Hall

Solicitor Advocate

Ben Hall is an experienced solicitor who re-joined Baron Grey solicitors in early 2018, having originally trained under Vincent in 2006.

Ben specialises in criminal defence work and regularly represents clients from the investigatory stage all the way through to the Crown Court and Court of Appeal, where he has had notable success.

Ben has expanded his practice into civil litigation with a particular emphasis on commercial and probate disputes.

Emma Faulkner

Solicitor

After being awarded a 2:1 degree in Law from the University of Reading, Emma joined Baron Grey in 2012. Since then, she has successfully completed the Legal Practice Course part-time obtaining a Distinction, and qualifying as a solicitor in February 2016.

Emma assists the litigation team and specialises in Family Law, including divorce and financial proceedings. Emma also deals with the niche area of Private Client Law concerning Lasting Powers of Attorney. She follows the footsteps of her grandfather who worked for Baron Grey as a senior legal assistant.

Vincent Hambleton-Grey

Principal

After graduating in Law in London, Vincent joined the firm in 1990 as a newly qualified solicitor. He specialises in litigation and company commercial work as well as employment and matrimonial matters. 

He is passionate about representing those who do not always have a fair voice in the community and his clients vary from local people to many small businesses in the area. Whenever possible, Vincent’s aim is always to meet and discuss matters with all new clients personally first. 

Born in Swansea, South Wales, he moved to London as an undergraduate and has lived in Twickenham since 1994. He is married with two daughters.