No Fault Divorce will commence April 2021

June 9, 2021 12:01 pm
no fault divorce

No Fault Divorce 

In an announcement yesterday (8th June 2021) it was confirmed that The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, which passed into law on 25 June 2020, and will introduce ‘no-fault’ divorces in England and Wales for the first time, will not be implemented as first hoped this autumn. However, The Ministry of Justice is now working on a commencement date of 6 April 2022.

The announcement came in the form of a response to a Parliamentary question in which Courts Minister, Chris Philp MP, has stated:

“The Ministry of Justice is committed to ensuring that the amended digital service allows for a smooth transition from the existing service which has reformed the way divorce is administered in the courts and improved the service received by divorcing couples at a traumatic point in their lives.

“Following detailed design work, it is now clear that these amendments, along with the full and rigorous testing of the new system ahead of implementation, will not conclude before the end of the year.”

What is no fault divorce?

Resolution members have been campaigning for no fault divorce for over 30 years. The aim is to reduce the impact that allegations of blame can have on a couple and most importantly any children involved.

Couples will be able to remove fault from the divorce process, allowing a statement of irretrievable breakdown. Couples will no longer have to use one of the five grounds for divorce (desertion, adultery, unreasonable behaviour, 2 years separation with consent or 5 years separation without consent).

It also allows for a new option in which couples can jointly apply for a divorce where the decision to separate is a mutual one. Terms such as “decree nisi” and “decree absolute” will be replaced with “conditional order” and “final order” and “petitioners” will also become “applicants”.

Specifically, the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act will:

  • Replace the current requirement to evidence either a conduct or separation ‘fact’ with the provision of a statement of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage (for the first time, couples can opt to make this a joint statement).
  • Remove the possibility of contesting the decision to divorce, as a statement will be conclusive evidence that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
  • Introduces a new minimum period of 20 weeks from the start of proceedings to confirmation to the court that a conditional order of divorce may be made, allowing greater opportunity for couples to agree practical arrangements for the future where reconciliation is not possible and divorce is inevitable.

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Waiting for No Fault Divorce

Whilst couples seeking a no-fault divorce will have to wait until April 2022, family lawyers are delighted to see the bill reach the end of its parliamentary journey. The Law Society said ‘no-fault’ divorce will bring divorce law into the 21st century.

Justice Secretary, David Gauke, said that that the new no-fault divorce laws will, “help end the blame game.”

Speak to our specialist Divorce Solicitors

Whilst there are several benefits to a no-fault divorce, it may not be possible for separating couples to wait for this to come into effect next year before they file for their divorce.  We can offer advice and guidance on all the options available to you and discuss with you what may be your best route forward following the breakdown of a marriage.

Our specialist family solicitors are committed to the Resolution Code of Practice. It is designed to promote an approach to family law that is sensitive, constructive, cost-effective and will most likely result in an amicable agreement. Our experienced team of family solicitors includes accredited members of the Law Society’s Family Panel and the Law Society’s Children Panel, so you can be confident that we will be there to guide you through the process every step of the way.

Regardless of the complexity of your divorce or separation, our solicitors in Portsmouth and Waterlooville, have the knowledge and expertise to help. You will receive guidance and support through every step of the process and our solicitors will explain all the options available to you.

Remember you can talk to us in complete confidence and gain reassurance from speaking to someone who understands your situation.

Get in Touch

To speak with one of our specialist family law team Please call on 023 9244 810 or make an online enquiry