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No-Fault Divorce Update

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The Divorce, Separation and Dissolution Bill, introduced in June 2019, presents provisions for no-fault divorce.

Under the current law, one spouse has to make accusations about the other’s conduct whether that be ‘unreasonable behaviour’ or adultery, otherwise they must face years of separation before a divorce can be granted. The new law will remove the blame by allowing one spouse, or the couple, to make a statement of irretrievable breakdown. It will also prevent the possibility of divorce being contested. Parallel changes will be made to the law governing the dissolution of a civil partnership.

The Bill had previously come to a standstill as a result of the unlawful prorogation of Parliament in September and the General Election in December. Following commitments to retain the Bill in the December Queen’s Speech, the Bill was introduced to the House of Lords on the 6th January 2020. This follows from two readings in the Commons and the committee stage.

The Government has chosen the no-fault divorce Bill as the focus for one of the first Bills tabled in the new parliament. It is hoped that the legislation will be passed without further delay.

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