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Divorce 'blame game' to end

View profile for Lucinda McWatt
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Divorce ‘blame game’ to end

Divorcing couples will no longer have to blame one another for the breakdown of their marriage as a Bill that seeks to reduce family conflict enters Parliament again.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill will be the biggest shake up of divorce laws in 50 years and aims to reduce the impact that allegation of blame can have on a couple and particularly their children.

At the moment, unless relying on a separation fact, one of the couple has to accuse the conduct of the other regardless of whether they have made a mutual decision to separate.  Currently, one partner has to state behaviour or adultery or face years of separation before a divorce can be granted.

Lucinda McWatt, Family and Divorce Solicitor says, “This has been a long time coming. This Bill was first brought to Parliament in June last year and then parked due to the General Election. We’re so pleased to see this Bill entering Parliament this week and certainly hope for the sake of so many families that it is passed.

We know from past experience and evidence that parental conflict is damaging to children yet the current fault-based system makes divorcing parents apportion blame. These proposed changes will encourage a new positive start for the divorcing couples as they start a new relationship as co-parents. It will also bring the divorce law in line with the government’s approach to family and avoiding confrontation.”

She adds, “As Resolution Solicitors we always 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.”

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill (if enacted in its current form) will:-

  • Retain the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage as the sole ground for divorce
  • Replace the requirement to provide evidence of a ‘fact’ around behaviour or separation with a requirement to provide a statement of irretrievable breakdown
  • Retain the two-stage legal process currently referred to as decree nisi and decree absolute
  • Create the option of a joint application for divorce, alongside retaining the option for one party to initiate the process
  • Remove the ability to contest a divorce
  • Introduce 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)

For further advice on divorce please contact our Divorce and Family Law team 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 LLP 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.