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Family Law

It has only taken 47 years – finally No Fault Divorce

No fault divorce

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Are we nearing a “No Fault” Divorce?

The Divorce Bill, which aims to introduce the biggest reforms to divorce law for half a century, has passed its first hurdle in the House of Commons. Yesterday, MPs voted overwhelmingly to back the new bill which will overhaul divorce law and make it a less confrontational process.

The key elements of the proposed reforms include:

  • A party would only be required to make a statement saying their marriage had broken down – ending the “blame game”
  • The opportunity to contest the divorce would be removed
  • Introduce a minimum overall timeframe of 6 months, the aim being to promote reconciliation if appropriate
  • Parties will still be barred for applying for a divorce within the first 12 months of marriage
  • The language used in the divorce shall be updated, replacing terms such as decree nisi with conditional order and decree absolute with final order

It is hoped that these reforms will then have a “knock-on” effect and reduce the acrimony between the parties when agreeing to the division of finances and child arrangements.

This is going to make a huge difference to sorting out your affairs following the decision to separate, such as:

  • No need to negotiate the terms of Divorce Petition
  • Close of an area dispute
  • Quicker – 6 months
  • Cheaper – minimal drafting
  • Automatic – neither spouse will be able to block the Divorce.

Our outdated Divorce law 1973, has been a frustration for Family Lawyers for decades – try explaining to a client that although it is clear to everyone around them that their marriage is over – that they cannot obtain a divorce as they do not fit the criteria, it feels very much like contradicting their basic human right.

We go into marriage freely and should be able to leave marriage freely.

It is now a matter of waiting to see whether further amendments to the Bill will be published or whether the Bill will be implemented as legislation. It is expected that further progress shall be made in the coming week, so watch this space for further updates.

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