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Historic divorce law changes – what you need to know

At long last, the ‘no fault’ divorce bill will come into on 6 April – a move welcomed by everyone here in Wards Solicitors’ Family Law and Divorce team.

It is the biggest shake-up of divorce law in 50 years, has taken decades of campaigning and brings in a long overdue, root and branch reform of the divorce process.

How is blame game divorce being reformed?

This new legislation aims to reduce the potential conflict and hostility between separating couples – and hence the impact on any children – by removing the need to apportion blame for the end of the relationship.

At the moment, couples who want to end their marriage must either live apart for two years or prove their relationship has irretrievably broken down by citing adultery or unreasonable behaviour.

Inevitably, this often means that the spouse asking for a divorce must blame the other for the breakdown of the marriage.

It is also hoped the changes will increase the chance of resolving divorce issues outside the courtroom.

What else is new about the ‘no fault’ divorce laws?

The introduction of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act also means:

  • You can divorce your spouse even if they don’t agree and you don’t need to point the finger of blame to do so;
  • Civil partners who claim their marriage has irretrievably broken down can have it dissolved without the consent of the other person and without blaming them;
  • It won’t be possible to oppose a divorce other than in very limited circumstances, including where there is a dispute about whether the court in the UK has the power to deal with the divorce or the validity of the marriage is questioned;
  • The end of the ‘Decree Nisi’ is replaced by the ‘conditional order’ and the ‘Decree Absolute’ is replaced by the ‘final order’;
  • The cooling off period after applying for a divorce is a minimum 20 weeks before a conditional order can be granted. A final order can be made a minimum of six weeks after the conditional order.

How can Wards Solicitors help with your divorce?

Our specialist team of family lawyers is committed to helping divorcing couples navigate separation with the least possible conflict, supporting them to resolve matters as constructively as possible and with the minimum impact on any children.

They are experienced in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), including mediation, collaboration and arbitration which can play a key role in reaching an amicable settlement.

Crucially, it can also avoid having to go to court which is usually not only expensive but time consuming and stressful too.

Get in touch

Wards Solicitors has seven family and divorce law legal specialists and 13 offices across Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset and North Somerset.

Click here to book an initial meeting.

We also have a range of fixed fee packages we can discuss with you at your consultation.

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