No-fault divorces: game over for the divorce ‘blame game’?

June 30th, 2020

Divorce is rarely easy, but a new Bill is set to end the ‘blame game’ experienced by divorcing couples.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill was first introduced in June 2019, but twice came to a standstill due to Brexit discussions and the UK General Election. The proposed Bill is now being backed by MPs  and aims to reduce family conflict by incorporating a ‘no fault’ process to divorce. If the Bill passes, it would mean divorcing couples will no longer have to blame one another for the breakdown of their marriage.

What does this mean for divorcing couples?

As it currently stands, when an individual files for divorce they must state it against evidence of at least one of five ‘facts’; adultery, behaviour, desertion, two years’ separation (if the other spouse consents), or five years’ separation (if the other spouse disagrees).

The new proposition pledges to remove unnecessary conflict during the divorce process. The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill will substitute the requirement to evidence by ‘fact’ with a statement of irretrievable breakdown. Spouses will no longer be able to contest the divorce, although divorces will remain contestable on grounds such as coercion or fraud.

A positive approach

The Bill aims to create a neutral outlook for divorce, with the Government stating a commitment to reducing the levels of harmful conflict between parties by avoiding confrontation wherever possible and reducing the potentially damaging effect it can have on children.

The introduction will also include a 20-week period between initially filing for divorce and when the divorce is completed. The will bring a state of reflection whereby the chance to turn-back is still possible, or alternatively, if divorce is the only option it will better enable couples to make arrangements for the future. 

Next steps

The Bill has not yet come into force as law, but is expected to receive Royal assent imminently. If your marriage is no longer reconcilable we understand that coming to this decision is not always easy. Our experienced team of family solicitors approach each matter with care and compassion, to help you through this difficult time. If you’d like to know more, or wish to speak to a specialist solicitor, please don’t hesitate to contact us today on 02392 98 1000 or email connect@verisonalaw.com