The biggest shake up of divorce law for over half a century namely, The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill was brought back before Parliament earlier this month.
First introduced in June 2019, the new law aims to remove “the blame game” often associated with divorce in the UK.
Currently, divorcing couples are able to divorce on the sub grounds of adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, 2 years separation (where both parties agree) or 5 years separation.
The new bill aims to remove the element of blame and allows one or both parties to make an revised Statement of Irretrievable breakdown (coincidently the same main ground as at the moment).
In addition, there will be a 20 week period between the initial Petition and the granting of the Decree Nisi (the first Decree) which will allow the couple time to reflect, make sure they have made the right decision and work together on their future with particular reference to financial arrangements and child care.
During 2016 and 2018, almost half of the divorces relied on the sub ground of unreasonable behaviour as a period of separation is often not an option for many couples who cannot afford to run 2 house holds over a period of time. The introduction of a 20 week period between Petition and Decree Nisi is a new element as there is currently no minimum time between these 2 stages of the divorce process.
It is hoped that the parental conflict that is often generated from a divorce and which has a detrimental impact on children, will be removed by the need not to blame the other party.
The twist in the Bill is that divorces will take longer.