Financial & Legal News

Divorce Changes on Back Burner Again

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As Parliament has been dissolved and politicians turn their minds to canvassing ahead of the General Election the business of Government and changes to the law have been put on the back burner and this will have an effect on the progress of the Divorce Bill.

Solicitors were welcoming the ‘no fault divorce’ but now this is one of many plans that will not be going ahead in the foreseeable future

“We welcomed the no fault divorce bill which was long overdue and once implemented will allow married couples to divorce without fault,” said divorce solicitor, Lucinda McWatt.

“The current law requires blame to be assigned if a divorce is to proceed prior to two years separation. This can result in conflict and acrimony as it requires divorcing spouses to focus on times of unhappiness . Conflict between parents is also very damaging to children,” she added.

“The impact on progress is disappointing however as Resolution Solicitors we aim to deal with all matters in a constructive and non-confrontational way with the aim to reducing conflict and will continue to advise our clients in this way.”

In April the Justice Secretary announced changes to the 50-year-old divorce laws meaning divorcing couples no longer have to blame each other for the breakdown of their marriage.

Currently the law states that unless you have been separated for 2 years with consent, or 5 years without, you have to divorce on the grounds of adultery or unreasonable behaviour and in 2016 almost 60% of divorces in England and Wales were granted in this way.

The Divorce Bill:                                                                                                     

  • retaining the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage as the sole ground for divorce
  • replacing the requirement to provide evidence of a ‘fact’ around behaviour or separation with a requirement to provide a statement of irretrievable breakdown
  • retaining the two-stage legal process currently referred to as decree nisi and decree absolute
  • creating the option of a joint application for divorce, alongside retaining the option for one party to initiate the process
  • removing the ability to contest a divorce
  • introducing a minimum timeframe of 6 months, from petition stage to final divorce (20 weeks from petition stage to decree nisi; 6 weeks from decree nisi to decree absolute).

The dissolution of a civil partnership will also mirror these changes when they become law.


For advice from divorce solicitors in Oldham and Saddleworth and to arrange a no obligation friendly chat call us on 0161 785 3500.

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

Written by Lucinda McWatt


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