Ministers announced on 7th June 2021 that the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, which will allow married couples to divorce without assigning blame (“no fault” divorce), will come into force on 6th April 2022.
The bill was originally due to come into force in October 2021 but the delay will allow time for the necessary IT changes to be made to the online divorce system.
What will no-fault divorces mean?
The new law will require one spouse or both parties to make a statement of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. This is intended to prevent one spouse from unreasonably contesting the divorce as the courts will consider the statement of irretrievable breakdown as conclusive evidence when making an order for the divorce.
The new law will also allow both parties to make a joint application for divorce should they wish to do so. This is extremely beneficial for couples who are already separated, but for less than 2 years, who would currently have to show unreasonable behaviour.
Is it worth starting divorce proceedings now or waiting for the new law to come into force?
While some might say “just wait”, if you are living together under strained circumstances this is easier said than done.
More importantly, if divorce proceedings have not started, the courts are prevented from making any financial orders (even if parties have agreed them). The only other option is for the parties to enter into a Separation Agreement which duplicates much of the work of a divorce and will increase costs in the long run.
Contact our Family Law experts to find out more
If you would like to find out more about the new no-fault divorce law, or have any other questions around separation and divorce then we are here to help. Contact us today to arrange a free initial consultation with one of our friendly, expert family lawyers.