New Divorce Laws Will Remove Fault
Posted on 14th October 2021
Divorcing couples will no longer need to blame each other for the breakdown in their relationship. New laws scheduled to come into force during the first half of 2022 will remove blame and fault from the process.
Current divorce law requires people seeking divorce to give evidence of 1 or more of 5 facts; 3 are based on ‘fault’ and 2 are based instead on a period of separation.
The 5 facts are: adultery, behaviour, desertion, 2 years’ separation (if the other spouse consents to the divorce) and 5 years’ separation (otherwise). Under the new legislation, the only grounds for divorce will be the irretrievable breakdown of the relationship.
Aidan Jones OBE, Chief Executive at relationship support charity, Relate said:
“This much-needed change to the law is good news for divorcing couples and particularly for any children involved. The outdated fault-based divorce system led parting couples to apportion blame, often resulting in increased animosity and making it harder for ex-partners to develop positive relationships as co-parents.
"As a large body of evidence shows, parental conflict is damaging to children’s wellbeing and chances in life, whether the parents are together or separated. It’s good that the government has listened and taken action on this, demonstrating commitment to reducing parental conflict.
"While divorce isn’t a decision that people tend to take lightly, we do support the extension of the minimum timeframe which will allow more time to reflect, give things another go if appropriate, and access support such as relationship counselling or mediation.”
Proposals for changes to the law include:
retaining the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage as the sole grounds for divorce
replacing the requirement to provide evidence of a ‘fact’ around behaviour or separation with a requirement to provide a statement of irretrievable breakdown
retaining the two-stage legal process currently referred to as decree nisi and decree absolute
creating the option of a joint application for divorce, alongside retaining the option for one party to initiate the process
removing the ability to contest a divorce
introducing a minimum timeframe of 6 months, from petition stage to final divorce (20 weeks from petition stage to decree nisi; 6 weeks from decree nisi to decree absolute).
McKenzie Picave can work with you in making the divorce process as painless as possible. Through our sister organisation, Daniel Picave, we can also provide relationship counselling to explore fixing a relationship or minimising the damage of ending one.
Contact Daniel Picave by visiting danielpicave.com
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