The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill, is rapidly progressing through Parliament with only a couple of stages remaining until it becomes law. However, the Lord Chancellor has confirmed that the bill’s reforms will not come into force this year (as had recently been reported) as time is needed to plan for its implementation.
An indicative timescale of autumn 2021 for implementing the new reforms has been suggested.
Therefore, couples looking to start divorce proceedings on a ‘no-fault’ basis without wanting to wait until they have been separated for two years may be able to do so from autumn next year.
This would represent a significant change in the current law which has been in place for nearly 50 years.
Some of the key reforms that the bill proposes to make are as follows:
- Couples can jointly petition for divorce on the ground of the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage
- It will remove the opportunity for the other person to contest the divorce, although all divorce applications could still be challenged on the usual bases such as fraud or coercion
- A minimum timeframe of 6 months from the date of issue to when the marriage is formally dissolved will be introduced
- The terminology will be modernised to remove ‘Decree Nisi’ and ‘Decree Absolute’ and replace with a ‘divorce order’ which will be conditional before being made final.
It is hoped that the introduction of these reforms will greatly assist with reducing hostility between couples and provides an opportunity for them to collaboratively and amicably end their marriage.
If you would like to know more about the topics discussed in this article, please contact a member of the Family Team on 01603 610911 who would be more than happy to assist.
Note: The content of this article is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be taken in any specific circumstance.