No fault divorce – Are we there yet?

Divorce splitting due to divorce

No fault divorce – Are we there yet?

Divorce splitting due to divorceNo fault divorce has not been made law yet, the bill which will change the law is progressing its way through the Houses of Parliament but as of 11th July 2019, it is not currently law. This means anyone applying for a divorce now has to use the current law which requires the person applying for the divorce to prove the marriage has irretrievably broken down due to one of 5 facts (reasons):

  • The other person has committed adultery and as a result the person applying for the divorce finds it intolerable to live with them;
  • The other person has behaved in such a way that the person applying for the divorce cannot reasonably be expected to live with them;
  • The other person has deserted the person applying for the divorce for a continuous period of at least two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition;
  • The parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least two years and the other person, who is not applying, consents to the divorce;
  • The parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least five years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition.

With the current divorce system, this means that anyone who would like a divorce has to effectively “blame” the other person, unless they wish to wait and apply on the ground of 2 years separation or 5 years separation. The fact that one of the parties has to be “blamed” can cause animosity between the parties who are already going through emotional turmoil due to the breakdown of the marriage, this can have an effect on how the parties treat one another, and on their approach to resolving the finances and child arrangements.

The bill, Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill 2017-19, proposes to change the current system so that a divorce will still be on the ground of the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage but instead of having to prove one of the five facts, set out above, the person applying will simply need to provide a statement to confirm that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

The current divorce system is in two main stages, the first stage is the granting of decree nisi and the second and final stage is the granting of decree absolute. The bill proposes to retain the two stage process but the first stage will be the granting of a conditional order and the second stage will be the granting of the final order.

The bill will also allow a divorce to be applied for by one person or jointly by both parties.

The bill proposes that the minimum time period for the divorce process will be 6 months, with the start date being the production of the divorce petition to court.

If you wish to seek advice about a divorce or financial issues arising from a divorce please contact me, Genette Gale, for advice. I am a Family Solicitor and Collaborative Lawyer. My telephone number is 01747 852377. This article was written on 11.07.19.

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