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No Fault Divorce Bill, what it means and when it could come into effect

Posted on 12th June 2020 in Family Law

Posted by

Tracy Lambert

Partner and Solicitor
No Fault Divorce Bill, what it means and when it could come into effect
Update (08/06/2021)

Ministers have announced that the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, or No Fault Divorce, which will allow married couples to divorce without assigning blame, will come into force on 6th April 2022. This date is later than originally indicated, however, the 6th April is now fixed as a matter of Parliamentary record, rather than the indicative timetable previously being worked toward.

Nigel Shepherd, the former Chair of Resolution who has spearheaded the call for No Fault Divorce over many years, said today: “Whilst any delay is disappointing, we do now have certainty over the introduction of this important reform, and will be able to advise clients accordingly.

 

 

As the Divorce Bill passes its second reading in the House of Commons we take a step nearer to No Fault divorce.

At the moment, a spouse has to prove unreasonable behaviour, adultery or that desertion has taken place for divorce proceedings to begin. The only other way to obtain a divorce without the other spouse’s consent is by living apart for five years.

It is a reality of life that some marriages will break down and when they do it falls upon both parties to try and part in an amicable manner, with the least amount of acrimony and upset. The introduction of No Fault Divorce will go a long way to help achieve a more amicable separation.

Under the new bill a spouse will simply have to claim that their marriage has irrevocably broken down. This also means that spouses will not be able to contest the choice divorce. Apart from on grounds such as coercion and fraud. The bill will also introduce a six-month minimum period that must pass between the divorce proceedings starting to the divorce being finalised.

As the bill has only just passed through Commons, it’s not yet known exactly when the bill could be made into law, but as its purpose is to reduce conflict we will welcome its smooth passage onto the statute books.

We know that dealing with the end of a marriage by a divorce or separation can be very upsetting, which is why our Family Law Team is here to help you navigate the process and support you to make decisions that are right for you. Visit their hub page to find out more and contact the team directly.

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