Government ends unnecessary divorce ‘blame game’
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 demonstrate 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 you now need to provide?
The elimination of these ‘blame’ factors is replaced with the requirement to provide a statement of irretrievable breakdown, which 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 timeframe of six months, from petition stage to final divorce, will be introduced.
When does this change come into force?
Today’s announcement states 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, which 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, and 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, including the legal process of ending a marriage, making a financial settlement and arrangements for children.