The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill will be introduced on 6 April 2022, this is fantastic news for family law as the last major divorce reform was over 50 years ago!
What are the changes?
- Wording – the wording will become more user friendly and will include the following:
- The first stage of the divorce will no longer be called the “Decree Nisi” and will instead be known as a “Conditional Order.”
- The second and final stage of the divorce will change from “Decree Absolute” to “Final Order.”
- The “divorce application” will continue to be known as this, having previously been called the “divorce petition.”
- Joint Application – Couples who have separated amicably often wish to make the application jointly, this will now be possible. Joint applications are likely to be popular and will reflect the joint aspirations of both parties wishing to avoid acrimony.
- No Fault – The biggest and most welcome change is that parties no longer need to prove the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage by one of the five facts (adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, two years separation with consent and five years separation.) Parties will now only be required to state that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
There is still a requirement that parties must be married for at least 12 months before they can commence divorce proceedings but if you have separated within the first 12 months, we can advise you of other options such as entering into a Separation Agreement.
Children and financial matters are not affected by the changes to divorce, if you are unsure about your rights in relation to these matters, our expert Family Team are available to guide and advise you so that you can obtain the best possible outcome. We acknowledge that everyone’s situation is different, and our team are available to advise you as to what is best in your situation.