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, the national family justice body, has been campaigning for 30 years to end the requirement for couples to assign fault in order to be granted a divorce, aiming to reduce the impact that allegations of blame can have on a couple and most importantly any children involved.
When implemented, the updated legislation will allow a statement of irretrievable breakdown, enabling couples to remove fault from the divorce process, without needing to cite one of the 5 reasons for divorce (as is currently required)
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”.
There will be a minimum time frame of 20 weeks (6 months) post the petition stage, with an “opportunity to reflect and turn back” and if after the end of that period the applicant affirms their decision to get divorced, couples will be able to have their divorce granted.
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.
All our specialist family solicitors are all committed to the Resolution Code of Practice, which promotes 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. We will explain all the options available to you, ensure you are aware of the costs involved, guiding, and supporting you through every step of the process.
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