Changes to the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act set to come in to effect on 6 April 2022 will be a true game changer.
At the moment, in order for a divorce to go through as fast as possible, some sort of blame needs to be assigned to the other party. Because of this, it usually takes a certain period of time to prove that the marriage union has been damaged beyond repair. This usually comes down to unreasonable behaviour or adultery. However, if this cannot be proven, a prolonged period of separation or desertion is required.
As you can imagine, if you haven’t already been through this process yourself, this can increase the painfulness of this already agonising process.
The amendment to this law does away with having to put the blame on anyone. All that will be required is that one spouse claim the marriage to be unsalvageable. So if the feeling and decision is mutual that the marriage has come to an end, this can be done in an agreeable and peaceful way.
Although this simplified process will end up being quicker, a minimum of 6 months will need to pass before the divorce goes through. This is to give the couple time to think about what the best course of action is around finances and dependants and other details. However, this can be a much less stressful process without the added conflict.
At present, should one spouse dispute the decision to divorce, the only option would be for them to live separately for five years. However, the new law removes the possibility of contesting the divorce claim, so this lengthy separation will no longer be a requirement.
Some were hoping for this law to come into effect sooner, but there are no doubt quite a few factors to consider – one being the changes that will need to be made to the online divorce portals. The seeming delay also gives practitioners time to familiarise themselves with the new law before it comes into effect. HMCTS hope to roll the service out on 6th April 2022.
What are your thoughts on the subject?
Do you think this change is way overdue and a welcome improvement or are you on the fence about it?
If you need any advice or assistance navigating the divorce process, please get in touch with us and we will see what we can do to help.