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No Fault Divorce Supported by MPs

View profile for Louise Rhys-Thomas
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On 17th June 2020 the House of Commons overwhelmingly supported the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill at its final stages in Parliament.

After receiving Royal Assent, the new law will mean that spouses will be able to apply for a divorce, on the basis that the marriage has broken down irretrievably, without having to blame the other person. They will have to wait a total of six months from the date of the application before the divorce can be made final, and will also have the option of making a joint application for divorce together.

Currently, a divorcing couple must prove their marriage has irretrievably broken down. To do this they rely on the 5 facts currently available. These are: adultery, behaviour, desertion, 2 years’ separation (if the other spouse consents to the divorce) and 5 years’ separation (when consent is not required).

The new law does not intend to make it ‘easy’ to get a divorce but removes the need to blame the other person. This unnecessary conflict is not the best way to start amicable discussions and the work to resolve financial matters and arrangements for the children.

Resolution, an association of family law professionals committed to resolving family issues in a non-confrontational way, and who I am a member of, has led a campaign calling for change. We have been closely following the developments in the proposed divorce reform over the last few years.

Robert Buckland, the Secretary of State for Justice, has indicated changes to the law are likely to be implemented in the autumn of 2021 so there will still be a little while longer to wait before applying under the new law. However those couples separating now should be able to apply under the new law next year instead of having to wait two years or otherwise have to point the finger of blame.

If you require assistance in relation to issuing divorce proceedings, please feel free to contact a member of our Family Law Department on 01242 574244 and we will be happy to meet you and discuss your situation.

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