Tags: Civil Partnerships, Family Law, Divorce
The government has now confirmed that the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act, which we’ve written about previously will come into effect in April 2022.
Currently, when a couple want to get divorced, it’s necessary to give a reason, in the divorce petition, as to why the marriage has broken down, and expect where the couple have been living apart for 2 years or longer, those reasons include the Petitioner (the person starting the process) to blame their spouse for the marriage breakdown, setting out that they have committed adultery, or have behaved ‘unreasonably’
Under the new law, which applies to the dissolution of civil partnerships as well as to divorces, the divorce (or dissolution) will be granted on the basis that one or both spouses have stated that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.
The new law means it will no longer be possible for a spouse to defend a divorce, to try to force the other party to remain married.
However, unlike the current rules, there are time limits on how quickly the divorce can be finalised - there is a period of 20 weeks from the start of the process, before it will be possible to apply for a ‘conditional order’ (equivalent to the current Decree Nisi) and then, as now, a period of 6 weeks between the conditional and final order, meaning that it won’t be possible to finalise a divorce in under 6 months.
The removal of the requirement to assigning blame for a divorce is expected to help couples to divorce more amicably and reduce hostility during the process, and as such, the change has been widely welcomed by family lawyers and other experts.
The new rules will apply to divorces started from April next year, divorces which are started before that time will be dealt with under the current rules.