Stockport law firm SAS Daniels do not expect the so-called ‘No Fault Divorce Bill,’ which passed through Parliament in June, to be implemented until Autumn 2021.
The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill, was first proposed several years ago and has received much publicity due to the hope that it would become possible for a couple to separate without apportioning blame to one party for the marriage breakdown (hence the moniker ‘no fault’ divorce). The Bill passed its second reading in Parliament in June 2021, but it has been announced that the proposed legislation will not be coming into force until late 2021.
What Will Happen Now?
The Bill began in the House of Lords with two readings, a committee stage, report stage and finally a third reading, where it was approved by the House of Lords on the 25th March 2020. On Tuesday 8th June, the Bill passed its second reading in the House of Commons.
The Bill will now return to the House of Lords, where amendments will be considered prior to it receiving the Royal Assent. However, the Lord Chancellor has stated that the reforms will not come into force immediately upon receiving the Royal Assent as “time needs to be allowed for careful implementation”.
Until the Act receives a date of implementation (expected to be Autumn 2021 at the earliest), the current law will continue to apply for couples wanting to divorce or end a civil partnership.
What is a No Fault Divorce?
The current laws were made 47 years ago and are very much outdated, especially where couples want to divorce amicably.
The new law will allow couples to divorce either by providing a joint statement that the marriage has broken down irretrievably or by one party providing the statement. The statement of irretrievable breakdown is then followed by a minimum period of six months before the divorce can be finalised.
Partner in SAS Daniels’ family law team, Denise Woodward commented:
The family team at SAS Daniels Solicitors are thrilled that, after many years of campaigning, no fault divorce will become law. On a daily basis, we witness problems that the present law causes for couples, especially those who want to remain amicable and focus on their future and the future of their children. During the bill being debated in Parliament, some MPs gave examples of their own personal situations when they were divorcing and the effect it had on them and their families.
“The majority of family lawyers support the change in the law and see it as the right step forward for couples who want to bring their marriage to an end in a dignified way.”