It was announced on Thursday 18th June 2020 that the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill was to become law and the changes would be introduced from autumn 2021.
Resolution (the national family law justice organisation) has campaigned for 30 years for these important changes to be made to update the divorce application process in England and Wales.
What can we expect from the changes in the law?
- No longer will there be a need to choose one of the 5 factors to prove the marriage has “irretrievably broken down”. The only information required will be a statement setting out the details of the irretrievable breakdown.
- The court will take the statement of one or both parties as evidence that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. The other person will not need to confirm whether they agree for the divorce to take place. This avoids the possibility of divorces being defended.
- Both parties will be able to apply for the divorce together whereas at the moment one party must divorce the other.
- The legal terminology is to change to plain English:
– Decree Nisi – Conditional Order
– Decree Absolute – Final Order
– Petitioner – Applicant
- There will be a minimum of 20 weeks between the start of the divorce proceedings and the conditional order (the decree nisi). This will allow the couple some time for reflection, and the opportunity to consider whether they want to reconcile or attend couples counselling. It also allows space and time to resolve financial and children arrangements.
The period of six weeks and one day between the conditional order and final order (the decree absolute) will remain. This means the divorce process should take no longer than six months
- Similar changes will also be made to the law for the dissolution of a civil partnership.
My hope is that it will avoid unnecessary additional stress and animosity for the couple at the beginning of their divorce process which should give them a better chance of keeping things civil and resolving issues amicably.
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Why I became a divorce consultant.