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‘No fault’ divorces set for autumn 2021

The ‘no fault’ divorce bill (officially the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill) has now passed successfully through Parliament and awaits Royal Assent. 

Once the bill has received Royal Assent, the first applications for ‘no fault’ divorces are likely to be issued in autumn 2021 and granted a minimum of 6 months later.

Before the existing divorce law was introduced, divorce was granted on the grounds of desertion, cruelty, being of incurably unsound mind and adultery. The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 replaced these with a single ground that the marriage must have broken down irretrievably, with one of five facts established on the balance of probabilities. A couple cannot currently divorce because they have grown apart, unless they have been separated for a period of two years or more.

Once the ‘no fault’ divorce bill becomes law, the opportunity to challenge a divorce will be lost, other than, for example, if you claim the marriage was never valid or if the Court in England and Wales does not have the power to divorce you (but a Court overseas does). 

A couple will be able to jointly ask for a divorce. The divorce process and terminology will be simplified and there will be a period of six months before a marriage is dissolved with a certificate.

For confidential advice on separation and divorce, please contact our Family Law team on 0113 201 4900 or email family.law@emsleys.co.uk

Gabbie  Clasper

Written by

Gabbie Clasper

Head of Family Law

Gabbie has over 20 years’ experience in family law. She has expert knowledge in complex issues including financial aspects following divorce; pre and post-nuptial agreements; cases with an international element; and civil partnerships. Gabbie is regularly instructed by clients based across the country and abroad. She...

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