The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill gained Royal assent in June 2020, ending years of campaigning to remove the need to blame one of the parties when seeking a divorce – allowing for a no-fault divorce.
The new law was due to be implemented in the autumn of 2021. However, ministers have recently announced that this new law is to be delayed until 6th April 2022.
What is a no-fault divorce?
A no-fault divorce is a divorce procedure that does not apportion blame to either party. A divorce can be started by either party and in some countries, it can be done jointly.
Under the current divorce law, the only way to get a divorce without a statutory delay is if one spouse not only initiates proceedings but alleges fault on behalf of the other.
This fault can be established with the court by using one of three reasons for divorce:
- Adultery –If you can prove adultery, you simply need to say you find it intolerable to live together.
- Unreasonable Behaviour –In this case, the court has to agree the behaviour makes it unreasonable to expect you to continue living together. Courts require specific examples of such behaviour.
- Desertion –This can make for particularly complicated legal proceedings. While there’s no statutory delay to the process itself, you can’t start until two years after the desertion.
If you can’t or won’t allege one of these faults, you can only get divorced once you’ve been separated for two years if both spouses agree to the divorce, or five years if one spouse refuses.
If you are considering commencing divorce proceedings and need some advice, please contact our Family department on 01603 677077.