The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill received its first reading on 13 June 2019. This is the biggest shake up of divorce laws in 50 years, aimed at reducing conflict and supporting children and families and introducing what’s to be known as a no blame divorce.
The intention is to make divorce less acrimonious by having a no blame divorce and to ensure that the divorce process better supports couples to move forward as constructively as possible.
The hope is that when a relationship regrettably breaks down, the law does not stir up further antagonism with blame, but instead allows couples to look to the future and focus on key practical decisions such as how best to co-parent when bringing up children.
Divorcing couples will soon no longer have to play the blame game and make allegations about each other’s conduct as a result of this Bill.
The main proposals for the changes to the law include:
- Retaining the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage as the sole ground for divorce.
- There will be no requirement to provide evidence of facts around behaviour or separation. Parties will now have to provide a statement of irretrievable breakdown. The divorcing couples will therefore no longer have to blame each other for the breakdown of their marriage.
- The two-stage legal process currently referred to as Decree nisi and Decree absolute will stay the same.
- There will be the option of a joint application for divorce alongside retaining the option for one party to initiate the process.
- There will be no ability to contest a divorce.
- There will be a minimum time frame of six months from petition stage to final divorce. This is intended to be 20 weeks from petition stage to Decree nisi, and six weeks from Decree nisi to Decree absolute.
The proposals to simplify the divorce process are welcomed by most people, however couples who are divorcing should bear in mind that none of the above will eliminate disputes as to the division of assets upon divorce if the parties are unable to agree.
Here at Clarion we have seen an increase in couples entering into prenups to avoid the acrimony, emotional distress and of course money spent on resolving disputes and division of assets as a result of a relationship breakdown. Whilst prenups are still not legally binding in the UK, they are usually given significant weight by the court provided certain conditions are met.
If you have any questions about this blog, please contact the Family Team for more information.
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