In 2019, the Government announced the laws governing Divorce would be reviewed and overhauled, enabling couples to divorce without the need to blame one party for the relationship breakdown. The resultant bill, the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 passed and, as of today (6th April 2022) has been implemented.

What were the previous Rules on Divorce?

prior to the new legislation, divorce was only permissible in England and Wales where one of the following criteria could be demonstrated: –

  • An irretrievable breakdown of the relationship attributable to either adultery or unreasonable behaviour
  • 2 years separation where both parties agree
  • Desertion, where one partner has deserted the other for 2 years without explanation
  • 5 years separation

Divorce could only currently proceed inside 2 years of separation where evidence of adultery or unreasonable behaviour could be documented and presented to the court.

What has changed?

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 changes all this, introducing sweeping reforms aimed at bringing divorce and separation rules in line with modern day reality.

From today, a divorce will be able to proceed on the sole grounds that the marriage has broken down, removing the necessity to attribute blame to one or other party.

As there is to be no requirement to cite a reason for the divorce, the ability to contest a divorce will also be removed.

Couples are also able to make a joint application for divorce, rather than one side having to instigate proceedings against the other.

But What if We Change Our Minds?

Whilst the changes make the divorce process more efficient and accessible, and remove the needless requirement to attribute blame, it is not the intention of the legislation to make divorce something that can be completed on a whim, without couples having time to address their issues and work on resolving these.

As such, the act includes a minimum timeframe of 20 weeks from the point of an application being made and the divorce being finalised.

What Does This Mean for Me?

If you are in a marriage that has irretrievably broken down, it has today become much easier for you to bring it to an end and move on. The changes should also reduce to a degree the conflict or ill feeling that often clouds such proceedings as there is no requirement to ascertain an element of blame on one side or the other should you choose to separate.”

]How can Watson Ramsbottom Help Me?

If you are dealing with the breakdown of a relationship, We’ve Got Your Back!

We are not only able to handle the divorce itself for you, but can also assist in resolving issues around arrangements for children as well as the division of marital assets.

Stuart is an expert in this field and can be contacted on 01254 778148. Alternatively you can email, talk to us via live chat or complete our Contact Us form and one of our expert advisors will be in touch.

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