‘No-fault’ divorce delayed to April 2022 - Palmers Solicitors

‘No-fault’ divorce delayed to April 2022

‘No-fault’ divorce delayed to April 2022

The Government has confirmed that the implementation of ‘no-fault’ divorce will be delayed from ‘autumn 2021’ to April 2022.

Described by ministers as “the biggest reform of divorce law in 50 years”, the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 will enable couples to part without having to wait two years or having to apportion blame for the breakdown of the marriage.

The in-built adversarial approach of the existing divorce process has been criticised by family lawyers for fuelling conflict and leading to unnecessarily bad outcomes for families.

Since the Act gained Royal Assent – the final stage in the legislative process – more than a year ago, the Government says it has been working to amend court processes and forms to accommodate the change in the law.

Announcing the delay in a Parliamentary Written Answer, Justice Minister, Chris Philp, said: “While this delay is unfortunate, it is essential that we take the time to get this right.

“The new divorce process will work to reduce conflict, which is especially damaging for children, and will reflect work the Government is undertaking through the Reducing Parental Conflict programme.

“That programme will build the evidence on what works to reduce harmful levels of parental conflict below the threshold of domestic abuse, working with local areas to help them embed support in their local services for families.

“We will also use this opportunity to strengthen signposting to family mediation as a means to resolve arrangements for children and division of assets on divorce.”

Sarah Dowie, a Associate Solicitor with Palmers, who specialises in family law, said: “The further delay means that, under current rules, a person petitioning for divorce must provide one of five reasons to demonstrate that their marriage has broken down irretrievably; namely adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion for at least two years, two years’ separation with the consent of both parties or five years’ separation if contested.

“Despite the current divorce laws, it is still possible to deal with separation and divorce amicably and round table discussions can be arranged, allowing couples to work through the practical matters that need to be resolved.”

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