Is No-Fault Divorce coming soon? The Progress of Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill received royal assent on 25 June 2020 and became law. 

It amends the current Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and Civil Partnerships Act 2004 to remove the requirement for couples to blame each other for the end of the marriage/partnership in order for it to be dissolved.

The new law will:

1. Replace the current requirement to rely upon the conduct of the other person (adultery, unreasonable behaviour or desertion) or a period of separation to demonstrate the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Instead a simple statement will be made confirming the breakdown of the marriage. Couples can chose to do this jointly if they wish.

2. Remove the possibility of the divorce being contested, as the statement will be conclusive evidence that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

3. Introduce a new minimum 20 week timeframe from the start of proceedings to the marriage/partnership being brought to an end. It is though this will allow couples more time to reflect upon their decision to end the marriage. Further, if reconciliation is not possible, it will provide greater opportunity for them to consider the practical arrangements in terms of the separation of their assets.

The new law will make the process of divorce simpler. It will remove some of the animosity and enable people to focus on the important decisions which need to be made when a relationship ends and move on with their lives.

It is the biggest change to divorce laws in decades and the detail of the rules around the new process is now being considered. The court forms need to be updated as does the online portal. Consequently it is unlikely that no-fault divorces available until late 2021 or even early 2022.

Couples wishing to divorce in the interim will continue to do so under the old system and our team of expert family lawyers offer advice to ensure this process is as smooth as possible.

If you would like any further information or advice in relation to divorce or dissolving a civil partnership, our specialist family lawyers are happy to help. Our lawyers have offices based in Wolverhampton and Cradley Heath and provide assistance to clients across the West Midlands including: Stourbridge, Kidderminster, Birmingham, Dudley and Walsall.

For all new enquiries, please call 01384 410 410 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of our team will respond.