Finally our Divorce Laws will be brought up to date with the implementation of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act on 6th April 2022.
The “blame game” which currently exists helps nobody, it creates unnecessary antagonism and anxiety at what is already a trying time for couples.
The DDSA represents the biggest reform of Divorce Laws in half a century and aims to reduce the impact that conflict and allegations of blame can have on families, and in particular, on any children.
Currently, the party seeking a Divorce has to satisfy the Court that the legal test of irretrievable breakdown is met by citing one or more of five facts. Three facts are based on conduct, two facts are based on separation. The new law will remove the requirement to assign blame by allowing one party, or indeed a couple jointly, to make a Statement of irretrievable breakdown. No evidence will be required.
It will also limit the ability of one party to challenge a Divorce which in some cases has allowed domestic abusers to exercise further coercive control over their victim. In the future an application can only be disputed on jurisdictional grounds or on the validity of the Marriage or Civil Partnership. The Act will introduce a 20 week period between the initial application and when the applicant may apply for a Conditional Order (formerly known as the Decree Nisi). This will provide a meaningful period of reflection and a chance to turn back if both parties want to. Where Divorce is inevitable it will afford to the parties an opportunity to co-operate and make arrangements for the future. It is hoped that parties will work together collaboratively to resolve issues that arise on separation avoiding hostility which is inevitably created by the party apportioning blame to bring the Marriage/Civil Partnership to an end in accordance with the current Law.
The new Law will come into effect on 6th April 2022.
Please do not be concerned if you have an existing application for Divorce, any application which has been issued on or before 5th April 2022 will continue to progress under the existing Law.
If you would like to discuss these matter further with us please do not hesitate to contact either Sharon Wilkinson or Emma Rymell here at Cocks Lloyd.
Telephone 02476 642 707
Telephone 02476 642 728