Government ends unnecessary divorce ‘blame game’

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The government has today (9th April) announced that it is introducing legislation in England and Wales whereby couples will no longer have to prove fault to get divorced.

This new legislation will replace the current legal requirement for spouses to either show their partner is at fault through adultery, unreasonable behaviour or desertion, or to have to wait for a period of separation; two years if both parties agree or five years if they do not.

What evidence will divorcing couples now need to provide?

In place of these ‘blame’ factors, separating couples will need to provide a statement of irretrievable breakdown. This statement will be retained as the sole ground for divorce.

The government proposes to no longer allow a spouse to contest a divorce in court. However, the two-stage legal process of decree nisi and decree absolute will remain in place. A minimum time frame of six months, from petition stage to final divorce, will be introduced.

When does this change come into force?

Today’s announcement stated that the legislation will be introduced ‘as soon as parliamentary time allows’.

The change comes after the Ministry of Justice’s consultation back in December 2018. This received strong support nationwide from family lawyers who want to see a divorce process where couples are not forced to blame each other for marriage breakdown, or else wait for a period of separation.

How we can help

There is no doubt that the government’s decision will help to reduce conflict and hostility during what can be the most stressful experience someone has in their lifetime. It will likewise prove beneficial in cases involving children.

At Barcan+Kirby, our specialist team of divorce solicitors have decades of experience working with every aspect of divorce. We advise on the legal process of ending a marriage, making a financial settlement and arrangements for children.

To get in touch with our expert divorce solicitors in Bristol, call us on 0117 905 9763 or fill out our 
online enquiry form.


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