Finally! New Divorce Law UK – The Divorce, Dissolution & Separation Bill Reintroduced

During this wonderful time of year, the Queen’s speech provides an insight into the future. I mean all we hear lately is Brexit, Brexit, and BREXIT. The delay that has been caused to much-needed family law developments is unacceptable.   However, complaining about the past is as useful as talking to a brick wall. I will never get anything of value back. I would rather focus on the ‘new divorce law UK’.

The political climate seems a little calmer. Therefore, it means that the current government has outlined their intentions to reintroduce the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill. This is referred to as the new divorce law UK.

Our legal system has finally decided that maybe we should seek to minimize the potential for conflict in divorce and separation proceedings. I mean shock horror, who would have thought it would be best to allow two adults to personally decide if their marriage has broken down irretrievably. Oh and whilst doing so, that maybe it would have been a good idea to allow them to do so on a no-fault basis. Who would have thought that a fault-based system would only increase disputes. I know!

You can taste the sarcasm. I will stop.  Okay, I have vented just enough to continue.

Current Fault-Based Divorce System

The fault-based system has been testing the legal sector and consumer for some time. I mean, to be frank, it is frustrating and the system must be changed without delay.

If you would like a guide on the current divorce system, click here. Or, if you would like some assistance to understand divorce facts you can view these helpful divorce help videos (vlogs):

  1. Unreasonable Behaviour?
  2. Adultery?
  3. Desertion?
  4. Separation of 2 years (with consent)?
  5. Separation of 5 years (with no consent)?

Now back to the point. The wider publicity, through the case of Owens v Owens, brought this issue to prominence. We live in a media-fuelled world and it took this case to bring the matter to the attention of the masses. I mean do not get me wrong, those involved would have been aware of issues relating to the current system, however, the publicity opened up the issue to wider society.  The media is very helpful in assisting in change, I only hope that Forced Marriage Protection Orders can get more of the media limelight moving forth.

Key Changes in the New Divorce Law UK

These changes will reform the process and legal requirements. They will hopefully also remove unnecessary disputes, costs, and proceedings for those seeking to divorce or separate.

Okay, drumroll, here are some of the exciting changes to the divorce system:

  1. There will be a joint application process! Woo hoo. The current system requires one party to petition against the other and does not account for those couples that have mutually decided to progress a divorce. This will hopefully avoid unnecessary disputes and costs.

 

  1. The terminology will be updated. The Petitioner will be referred to as the Applicant, the Decree-Nisi will be named the Conditional Order and the Decree Absolute will be named the Final Order. If anybody knows me, they know I like to simplify matters and to this end write simple free articles for consumers. However, guilty admission time, I love the ‘olde worlde’ English. This may just be because I am sad and through my civil law background. I will miss it. However, I do not matter and nevertheless, it is a positive step and means our system is more understandable for laypersons.

 

  1. The one ground for divorce of irretrievable breakdown will remain. However, you will not be required to provide supporting evidence and rather will need to provide a statement of irretrievable breakdown. There will be no other evidence necessary.

 

  1. It will not be possible to challenge a divorce. The court will take the above statement to be conclusive in proving the marriage has broken down irretrievably.

 

  1. There will be a new minimum period of 20 weeks in between commencing proceedings and the conditional order stage (Decree-Nisi). The current time-period 6 weeks between the Conditional Order (Decree-Nisi) and Final Order (Decree-Absolute) will remain in place. Do you like the way I am starting to use the new terminology? Hmm, yes, I continue to impress myself.

The Future

It is not now a question of ‘if’ these changes will be introduced but more of ‘when’. They have been mentioned in the Queens Speech 2019 and the hope is that they are progressed without any further delay. We now eagerly await the changes!

If you would like to know about the current Family Law Statistics, you can view my article here.