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.
After 30 years of campaigning by family law group Resolution and other bodies, Parliament passed the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 in June 2020. There is no set date for when this legislation will come into force and No Fault Divorces become a reality in England and Wales, however the Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland has indicated that the changes will likely not take effect until autumn 2021 as ‘time needs to be allowed for careful implementation’.
What is divorce law currently?
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.
How will divorce law change?
Under the new legislation 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 new legislation will also introduce a six-month minimum period that must pass between the divorce proceedings starting to the divorce being finalised.
The Law Society have commented that ‘No Fault Divorce will bring divorce law into the 21st century’. Its purpose is to reduce conflict and minimise the impact on any children caught up in proceedings. We eagerly await the new legislation coming into force later this year.
How can Tozers help
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 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.