No Fault Divorce – It’s Coming
There is going to be a big change coming on the 6th of April 2022 after the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill was given Royal Assent in June 2020. These rules will make the process around how to obtain a divorce less likely to create hostility between the divorcing parties. The new law means that one side no longer needs to take the blame for the divorce, this is a great step forward and a chance to prevent a breakdown in communication. The laws aim is to lessen the impact on children who suffer as a result of a messy divorce.
The current law on divorce means that the parties must show there is an irretrievable break down of the marriage resulting from one of the following facts being proven:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Desertion by one party
- Two years separation with the consent of the spouse; or
- Five years separation without consent
These rules have been a rigid prerequisite to end a marriage which results in one party taking the blame for the breakdown or at least two years separation with consent. These rules do not allow for an amicable break down of the marriage for those who mutually have an agreement to end their marriage, which the new law provides.
The new law has removed the need to prove an irretrievable breakdown, instead the new law will:
- Replace the need to prove an irretrievable breakdown evidenced by one of the five facts. Instead, a statement of an irretrievable breakdown is enough.
- A divorce will no longer be able to be contested except on limited grounds including jurisdiction.
- An option for a joint application for divorce will be introduced.
- ‘Decree Nisi’ will be replaced with a Conditional Order and a ‘Decree Absolute’ is replaced with a Final Order to make the process easier to understand; removing old Latin terminology.
- The period from when the application has been submitted until the Conditional Order can be granted has increased to 20 weeks, instead of 6 weeks and 1 day to allow arrangements of the separation time to be agreed.
- After the Conditional Order has been granted, 6 weeks must pass until the Final Order can be granted to end the marriage, which is the same as the old law.
This law also applies to civil partnerships.
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If you would like more information on the divorce process and the new rules coming into force. Get in touch today.