Ministers have announced this week that the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, will be implemented on 6 April 2022 and not this autumn as originally planned, delaying no fault-divorces by six months.
The new divorce law will allow a marriage to end without legal blame at the request of just one partner. The current process requires one party to attribute blame to the other or wait for at least two years before commencing proceedings based on two years’ separation with consent.
The revised date is to allow time for the technical changes to be made to move the no-fault process system online.
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.
Implementation of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act, passed with Boris Johnson’s blessing almost a year ago, has also been held up by Covid, the Ministry of Justice said.
The impending changes mean an end to pointing the finger of blame. This can inflame an already unpleasant situation for both parties. This course of action can obstruct discussions of the arrangements for any children or financial arrangements.
For the many instances where a couple does not want to wait for two years but would like to separate amicably, the existing rules force them to spend time and money negotiating the wording of unreasonable behaviour, sufficient to evidence the breakdown of the relationship. This has the potential to create unwelcome dispute during an already difficult time.
A Ministry spokesman said: ‘Our changes will help divorcing couples to resolve their issues amicably by ending the needless “blame game” that can exacerbate conflict and damage a child’s upbringing.’
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