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Government Delays "No Fault" Divorce

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Government Delays "No Fault" Divorce

What is no fault divorce?

In 2020 the Government passed an act enabling either spouse to divorce the other without having to give a reason and preventing the receiving spouse from defending the proceedings. Although passed into law, the act has not come into force yet.

Why was no fault divorce introduced?

The thought was that there were some couples who were having to invent allegations of unreasonable behaviour or even adulterous relationships in order to obtain an immediate divorce even though they both agreed there should be one. Under existing law, divorce by consent can only take place after a couple have been separated for 2 years. There was a suggestion that in some cases people might be “backdating” their separation in order to avoid blaming each other for the breakdown of the marriage.

What about 2 years separation and consent?

The Government could have reduced the 2 years separation and consent to “0 years separation and consent” – i.e. just consent. Then when a couple both agreed that there should be a divorce they could obtain one without having to make allegations. That wasn’t an option that the Government was prepared to approve, preferring sweeping changes to the legislation.

When was no fault divorce supposed to be introduced?

The Government originally indicated that it would be introduced in the autumn of 2021. Some couples as a result have been waiting until then in order to take advantage of the new law.

Why has the law been delayed?

It’s understood that the courts services IT systems aren’t ready and won’t be until next year and that is the reason for the delay.

 When will no-fault divorce be introduced?

The Government has now said that it will be available from 6th April 2022. This means that anyone wanting to take advantage of the new legislation is going to have to wait another 10 months before being able to do so.

 Is that now a definite date?

The Government says that it is, but it is dependent on the online divorce system (which has had plenty of teething problems) being fit for purpose by then. We will be quite cautious about relying on the given date until we actually see it happen.

We are always happy to discuss matters with you and offer a free 15 minute initial telephone call. If you would like to take advantage of that, why not give us a call?

If you require anymore information on this topic please contact Marina Iskra via or 01206 217325.