If you’re looking to get divorced now, you must meet certain criteria to legally end your marriage. Although, the good news is that the UK government passed a ‘no fault’ divorce legislation in 2020, which should finally come into effect in April 2022.
The new divorce legislation removed the need to provide evidence if you’re trying to get separated on the grounds of adultery, desertion, or unreasonable behaviour.
The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, will give married couples a chance to get divorced without pointing the blame to anyone. It will be the biggest reform to family law in over 50 years and is looking like a win-win scenario for everyone.
What are the current divorce laws in the United Kingdom?
Following the current divorce laws, one of the first steps you’ve to do is prove that the relationship has broken down beyond repair. The marriage has broken down irretrievably and you cannot be expected to live with your spouse. To prove it, your divorce claim must meet one of the set ‘grounds for divorce’, which include: adultery, desertion, unreasonable behaviour, separation of at least 2 years (with agreement), or separation of at least 5 years (without agreement).
The present-day divorce processes are based on The Divorce Reform Act 1969 and The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. Which detailed separation of 2 or 5 years to be a significant enough reason and how are the courts supposed to deal with financial issues respectively.
Divorce laws, that are currently in effect, have been massively criticised, due to forcing couples to put the blame onto each other. Which in turn, causes massive disagreements and damages relationships beyond fixing. Especially worrying problems arise once there are co-parenting decisions to be made, which can get very emotional and turn into heated arguments.
What is ‘No Fault’ divorce?
In the nutshell, no-fault divorce is the divorce process that doesn’t require any party to put the blame onto each other. It allows couples to get divorced purely because they think their marriage has broken down.
The New Divorce Legislation
The set-out changes to divorce law will mean that couples won’t need to prove the ‘irretrievable breakdown’ of their relationship, instead, they will be able to file for a joint divorce application.
Divorce applications won’t be contestable anymore, to further reduce pointing fingers (except on the grounds of the validity of the marriage).
This ought to reduce disagreements between divorcing couples, save court’s time and could lead to a significant decrease in divorce costs on all sides.
Furthermore, the legal terms, surrounding divorce, will be changed. So, instead of ‘Decree Nisi’ it will now be ‘Conditional Order’ and instead of ‘Decree Absolute’ it will, in turn, be called ‘Final Order’. This change hopes to simplify the divorce process and make it easier to understand for anyone.
All in all, the changes are welcome by most solicitors within the industry. Although, there are worrying signs that the new law might not come into effect any time soon. As our Founder & Director, Chris Sweetman stated: “if our experience is anything to go by implementation by April 2022 is a pipe dream.”
The current court system is very slow and outdated, it will need drastic reform for it to work as quickly as the new divorce legislation expects it to, which sadly appears unreachable until April 2022.
What are the main takeaways from the New Divorce Legislation?
1. Couples will be allowed to make joint applications for divorce. Up until now, only one party could apply for divorce, while the opposite party could agree or contest the application.
2. A mandatory 20 weeks of ‘cooling off’ will be required. The new law states that a minimum period of 20 weeks will need to pass between the original divorce application to the conditional order and additional 6 weeks from the conditional to the final order. This means divorces will still take at least 6 months. Hopefully, in that 6 months, the parties and their lawyers will move to resolve all financial and contact for children matters to save cases dragging on for years.
3. Divorce can be approved by the court without pointing the blame to anyone. All which will be required of divorcees is that at least one of the spouses provides a legal statement that the marriage is beyond repair. This statement will act as definitive proof and is not contestable.
When is the New Divorce Legislation coming into effect?
The New Divorce Legislation will be coming into effect on 6th April 2022. With it – the new laws regarding ‘no fault’ divorce will become applicable. Our team at Fair-Result are more than prepared to handle the changes and we are hoping the implementation of the new law will go by successfully.
If we can help you with matrimonial, or any other legal queries you have, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free initial consultation.