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Anyone wanting a divorce since 1857 has had to prove that their marriage has broken down and cannot be saved. This involved either a wait for 2, if not 5, years following a separation or desertion, or showing that the spouse was somehow at fault.

That will change shortly when the biggest reform of divorce law in 50 years will be introduced. This is aimed to reduce conflict between couples who want to end a marriage or civil partnership.  The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 will come into force on 6 April 2022 and will introduce the long anticipated “no fault divorce”.

As a result, there will be no requirement to provide an explanation as to why a divorce is required, just a statement to say the marriage has irretrievably broken down without either party being blamed. As a result, it will not be possible for the other party to defend the divorce. The introduction of no fault divorce is expected to reduce conflict within the legal process of divorce, dissolution and separation, which can be emotionally damaging for both parties and children.

There will also be a number of other changes. In addition to it being open to one party to start proceedings as at present, there will be the option of both parties being able to apply jointly for a divorce. Again, this should greatly reduce the conflict between parties who can apply for the divorce together.

Some of the existing legal language will also be changed to make the process easier to understand. As an example, “decree nisi’ will be replaced by “conditional order”, and ‘decree absolute’ will become “final order”.

These long awaited changes are welcomed by the family team here at Jackamans. We appreciate that there will always be emotional stress in going through the breakdown of a relationship and that anything which reduces the conflict between the parties can only be a benefit for all those involved.

If you would like assistance on a family matter, or further information on these changes, please contact our Family Team on 01473 255591 or fill in the Contact Form on this website.

This article provides only a general summary and is not intended to be comprehensive.  Special legal advice should be taken in any individual situation.

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