No fault divorce plan a step closer

22/06/2020

The option to claim a ‘no fault’ divorce is nearly here after the bill passed its third reading in the House of Commons and is moving towards to its last and final stage, Royal Assent.

But the overhaul of divorce laws isn’t complete yet, warned Kate Rowley, a solicitor with our family law team, who urged couples looking to separate to seek advice now.

It is undoubtedly good news that the majority of MPs backed the plans to introduce no fault divorce when the bill made its way through the Commons. It is well overdue and will help couples split with less conflict.

At the moment one spouse must allege adultery or unreasonable behaviour by the other or else wait two years to start divorce proceedings. Until divorce proceedings are begun, financial issues cannot be resolved with any finality so often people have no choice but to get started immediately. 

Under the proposed new law couples will be able to jointly seek a divorce where the decision to separate is mutual. It will also replace the terms ‘decree nisi’ and ‘decree absolute’ with ‘conditional order’ and ‘final order’. There will be a minimum six-month period between the lodging of a divorce petition and a final order. 

Whilst it looks as though no fault divorce will become a reality soon, with the Government suggesting that the law will come into effect from the autumn of 2021, people shouldn’t feel like they have to wait for the law to change to get advice. 

Even under the present system we will always try to reduce conflict and aim for a divorce process that runs as smoothly as possible. Delay can sometimes make finances more difficult to sort out, which can lead to unnecessary conflict. 

For further advice, please contact Kate using the details below.

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