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No Fault Divorce: the blame game is coming to an end


Update June 2021: Eric Robinson Solicitors have been long-time supporters of Resolution’s campaign for No Fault Divorce and as such, we are delighted that the Government has just announced that the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, will finally come into force on 6th April 2022. This Act will permit married couples to divorce without assigning blame, thereby reducing tension at an already stressful time.

Although the date is later than originally indicated, it is understood that this allows for the necessary changes to be made to HMCTS’s computer systems.

Under the current UK law there is no way for couples to start immediate divorce proceedings without blaming their spouse; they must prove either adultery or unreasonable behaviour. At the moment, in the UK, the only way to obtain a divorce without blaming the other person in the marriage is for the couple to wait until they have been separated for two years and with the other’s consent, or to wait until they have been separated for five years.

Here at Eric Robinson Solicitors, we believe the divorce laws have been out of date for some time and we have supported Resolution’s campaign for no-fault divorce. Resolution is a community of family justice professionals who work with families and individuals to resolve issues in a constructive way. Resolution have been campaigning for years to change the divorce law to allow couples to separate without having to apportion blame.

Find out more about the great work Resolution are doing, here: www.resolution.org.uk

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020

The lengthy campaign for a change in divorce laws has culminated in The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 which will be implemented in autumn 2021. This will simplify the divorce process and will:

  • allow one spouse – or the couple jointly – to make a statement of irretrievable breakdown and there is no need for any proof
  • stop one partner contesting a divorce if the other wants one
  • introduce an option for a joint application
  • make it easier to understand the terminology: decree nisi will become a conditional order and decree absolute a final order
  • introduce a minimum of 20 weeks from the initial proceedings until a conditional order of divorce has been granted

Why does this matter?

The new law will remove the need for couples to blame each other for the breakdown of the marriage. This allows couples to instead focus on addressing and resolving other important issues, such as arrangements for their children and/or financial matters, in an amicable and constructive manner. The new divorce laws should help to make the whole process less stressful, less costly and less time consuming.

Here to help

At Eric Robinson, our family lawyers can advise on all aspects of divorce, including those covered in this blog post. Our expert team are currently offering free 30-minute initial consultations, to help you make the best decisions for yourself and your family. Details of these free appointments can be found here: www.ericrobinson.co.uk/services/divorce-separation-childcare

About the Author

Jag Kainth is an Associate Solicitor in Eric Robinson’s Family Department and her areas of practice include all aspects of private family work, including financial proceedings and arrangements for children. She is based at the Chandlers Ford office where she can be contacted on 02380 278710 or by email: jagjit.kainth@ericrobinson.co.uk