No Fault Divorce – allowing couples to divorce without assigning blame
9 June, 2021
A date is finally set for the implementation of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act. The Government commits to 6 April 2022. This Act will allow couples to divorce without assigning blame.
The date is later than anticipated, this is to allow time for the necessary IT changes to be made to HMCTS’s online divorce systems.
The changes – The current laws were made over 47 years ago and are outdated, especially where couples want to divorce amicably.
Couples will now be able to divorce either by providing a joint statement that the marriage has broken down irretrievably or by one party providing the statement. The statement of irretrievable breakdown is then followed by a minimum period of six months before the divorce can be finalised.
Our family team at Storrar Cowdry welcome the changes. We are delighted that after many years of campaigning, no fault divorce will become law. We frequently witness problems that the current law causes for couples, especially those who want to remain amicable and want to work together for the future of their children.
Nigel Shepherd the former Chair of Resolution (the organisation that trains family lawyers) says “We have met with the Ministry of Justice on a regular basis and have received assurances that the Government remains fully committed to bringing the Act into force”.
What does it mean for a person wanting to divorce?
If you wish to start proceedings now then a petition would need to be filed under the current law, which is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably, and one or more facts have to be proved:
- That the other person has committed adultery
- The other person has behaved unreasonably
- The other person has deserted you for a period or 2 years or more
- You have lived apart for 2 years and the other person consents to a decree nisi
- You have lived apart for 5 years
The majority of family lawyers support the change in the law and see it as the right step forward for couples who want to bring their marriage to an end in a dignified way.
For further information on the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act, please contact our Family team on 01244 400567