“No Fault “divorce Law will come into force on 6th April 2022
The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, which will allow married couples to divorce without assigning blame, will come into force on 6th April 2022.
Our family team welcomes this long-awaited change in the law as it signals the end of the “blame game”. For many years family Lawyers have endeavoured to protect their clients from the increased conflict and pain caused by finger-pointing and blame to justify divorce by agreeing between the parties what one will say about the other.
This new law will not only remove the blame culture but will undoubtedly reduce the tension between warring parents and allow them rightly to concentrate on their children and resolve their financial aspects of the relationship breakdown.
As the law stands, a person applying for divorce must blame their spouse for the irretrievable breakdown of their marriage or separate and wait a minimum of 2 years.
The facts currently available for the fault route are adultery, unreasonable behaviour, or desertion (which is now rarely used).
Some couples who have split amicably are waiting for no-fault divorce to come into effect before issuing their divorce application and our team are happy to discuss matters with you to advise in relation to the best possible options available.
What is the change in law, and how will it change the process?
No-fault divorce will change the process in the following ways:-
- Instead of relying on facts to prove that the relationship has broken down, either or both parties may apply to the court for an order that dissolves the marriage, citing “irretrievable breakdown”, and the parties can do this by way of joint statement or individually.
- It will not be possible to defend the divorce, save where the other party is contesting the jurisdictional basis of the petition in an international case.
- Plain English will be used to make the process easier for the parties to understand. For example, Decree Nisi, which is the penultimate decree, will be replaced with “ conditional order and Decree Absolute, which is the final decree, will be replaced with “ final order “.
- The process will be simplified to the following stages:-
- The parties file their statement of irretrievable breakdown with the court.
- The parties apply for a conditional order after 20 weeks.
- The parties apply for a final order.
There is a minimum period of 20 weeks between the start of proceedings and the conditional decree. This provides an opportunity for the parties to agree on arrangements regarding the children and finances and gives the parties time to reflect on a reconciliation, should they choose to do so.
Divorce is never easy, but the changes in the law should reduce unnecessary conflict for couples when trying to resolve their finances and issuing surrounding their children.
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This article must not be construed as legal advice. All cases are different on their facts and you should consult with us directly on your case.