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No Fault Divorce Day is getting Closer

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Removing fault from the divorce process has been on the cards for such a long time now our Family Law Solicitors wondered if the day would ever come.  The proposed legislation is just days away from receiving Royal assent as it travels along its parliamentary journey.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill was first introduced to the House of Commons almost 12months ago to the day but the process has been halted twice.  Once due to the prorogation of parliament in September and then again in December due to the General Election.  However it’s picked up speed again now that it has passed a second reading in the House of Commons meaning that all MPs will be able to debate and vote.

It was April 2109 when the Justice Secretary first 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.

Divorce Solicitors have been looking forward to the day when no one is actually to blame for a breakdown of a marriage and there is no need to apportion blame.

“The no fault divorce bill has been a long time coming.  The 50-year-old law was already long overdue and then we’ve experienced further setbacks along the way since,” explains Emma Kendall, Family and Divorce Solicitor for Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers. “Having said that,” she adds, “We do believe that no fault divorce is a good thing and a more amicable way for married couples to divorce.”

“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.

Divorce and Family lawyers, who have long campaigned for no-fault divorce, are welcoming the bill. However as the bill is debated by MPs for the last time, there is a call for the legislation to be amended to ensure that ex-spouses are not left financially vulnerable as a result of pension orders.

The bill should be amended so that the final divorce order cannot be granted until the pension sharing order has taken effect.  Often pensions are overlooked in divorce settlements as the focus tends to be on dividing other assets such as the family home.

If you need advice on any aspect of Family Law or Divorce you can contact the Family Team on 0161 785 3500 or email or complete an online enquiry.

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 Emma Kendall


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