New changes to divorce law herald an end to a damaging culture of blame - Walker Foster Solicitors New changes to divorce law herald an end to a damaging culture of blame - Walker Foster Solicitors

New changes to divorce law herald an end to a damaging culture of blame

A welcome change to the divorce laws in April 2022 means that married couples will no longer need to assign blame for the breakdown of a marriage.

On April 6 this year, the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 will come into effect. This new law will mean that married couples will finally be able to divorce without having to say who is to blame for the breakdown of the marriage. 

It is a change that has been a long time coming – the first in 50 years. Our Family team believes it is a significant one too – finally marking the end of an unhelpful culture of blame around divorce. 

No more blame games

Divorce is clearly a difficult and stressful time for everyone – especially when children are involved. 

Currently, anyone divorcing needs to place blame the other party for the irretrievable breakdown of their marriage. In legal terms, that blame could be down to adultery, unreasonable behaviour, or desertion. The alternative is for them to separate and to wait at least two years before the divorce can proceed. 

With the new law in place, this blame game will no longer be necessary. Both parties will simply file a statement of irretrievable breakdown with the court and proceed from there. 

A clearer process for all parties

The new law will also introduce Plain English to clarify the process for all parties. A minimum of 20 weeks after the initial statement, they can apply for a ‘conditional order’ (previously known as a Decree Nisi), before then applying for a ‘final order’ (previously known as a Decree Absolute). The 20-week period is a chance for reflection on any possible reconciliation, or to agree any arrangements in terms of children and finances. 

It is no surprise that many couples have been waiting for this expected law change before they begin divorce proceedings. So, if you would like to find out more about how Walker Foster’s Family law team can assist you, please use the button below.

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