No-Fault Divorce and Civil Partnership Dissolution
Divorce and dissolution under the current law
Under the current law, it is necessary to prove that the marriage or civil partnership has irretrievably broken down. To satisfy the court that this is so, it is still necessary to prove to the court that one of the following grounds applies:
- Behaviour -The other party has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them and you have not lived together for more than six months after the last incident
- Desertion – The other party has deserted you and you have remained apart for a continuous period of at least two years immediately before the start of the divorce or dissolution
- 2 Years Separation – You have lived apart for a continuous period of at least two years immediately before the start of the divorce or dissolution application and the other party consents to a decree being granted.
- 5 Years Separation – You have lived apart for a continuous period of at least five years immediately before the start of the divorce or dissolution
- Adultery – (In the case of divorce only) -, The other party has committed adultery and you would find it intolerable to live with them again
The New No-Fault Divorce and Civil Partnership Dissolution
The law relating to divorce and civil partnership dissolution in England and Wales is being modernised. The new law will take effect on 6 April 2022.
Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020
Parliament has passed the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, and this Act of Parliament contains the law relating to no-fault divorce and dissolution. The finer details of the practice, new procedures and guidance are currently being considered and should have been completed by 6 April 2022 when the new law takes effect.
The new law will also allow married couples and civil partners to be formally separated by the making of no-fault judicial separation orders, if they do not wish to proceed to a divorce or civil partnership dissolution, but do wish to live apart permanently
The key features of the new law are
- It will no longer be necessary or possible for one party to blame the other for the irretrievable breakdown of the relationship in order to end the marriage or civil partnership.
- Either of the parties to the marriage or civil partnership will be able to make an application to the court, or if they both agree a joint application to the court will be possible instead.
- It will no longer be possible to prevent the divorce or dissolution from proceeding as long as certain formalities are met.
- Under the new law, once an application has been made to the court, there will be a compulsory ‘period of reflection’ before the divorce or civil partnership may be finalised
- The emphasis will be on plain language. For example, terms like ‘decree nisi’ and ‘decree absolute’ will be replaced by ‘conditional orders’ and ‘final orders’.
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