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No-fault Divorce

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The government’s new Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill will help end the ‘blame game’ for separating couples, the Law Society of England and Wales said as their written evidence to the bill committee was published on 5th July 2019.

“With an estimated 42% of marriages ending in divorce, this bill has the potential to transform the process for thousands of couples,” said Law Society president Simon Davis.

Currently, a couple must be married for a year and a day before they can apply for divorce. If after this time there is a desire for divorce, either partner can file for it, but only if certain conditions are met. Either the marriage must be past repair due to adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion or having lived separately for two or more years – if both parties agree – or the couple must agree to live apart for more than five years.

The current requirement to prove one of five fault-based facts can make it difficult to remain focused on the needs of their children and increase tensions.

“The introduction of a ‘no fault’ divorce will help to cut the conflict from what can be a highly stressful experience.”

The bill includes several key reforms such as:

  • the introduction of a ‘no fault’ divorce
  • the option to file a joint divorce petition
  • the replacement of a two- or five-year separation period with inclusion of a 26-week notice period

No fault divorce has the potential to dramatically reduce the trauma that both couples and their families go through – something that will no doubt be welcomed by those already experiencing the unpleasantness that separation so often brings.

If you need advice concerning any family law matter, contact any of our offices to book an appointment.


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