New divorce rules to come into force in April
The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 will bring in fundamental changes to divorce law for the first time in 50 years. The Act will introduce ‘no fault divorce’ from 6 April 2022, and the new process will be entirely online. Couples whose marriage has irretrievably broken down will be able to make single or joint applications for a divorce – without the need attribute blame. Long overdue, this change will have the effect of reducing conflict and allowing separating couples to focus on the issues that matter, such as making arrangements for any children and sorting out their property and money issues, instead of blaming each for how their marriage ended.
The change will introduce a new minimum period of 20 weeks between the start of divorce proceedings and when the Conditional Order of divorce can be made. This new waiting period is intended as period of reflection, and it is likely that this time will be used to resolve any disagreements about financial or children’s shared living arrangements.
Getting divorced is not going to be any quicker under the new Act, but there are concerns that the increased accessibility of divorce may give rise to problems – for example, a couple could dissolve their marriage without having any financial arrangements in place before their divorce is finalised. Spouses may also try to complete their divorce without taking any legal advice, which could become a significant problem if there are concerns about paying bills, rising living costs, or pension funds to deal with. Whilst reducing animosity is clearly a positive development, the new process makes it more important than ever to obtain expert legal advice from specialist family lawyers regarding their options for severing financial ties. At Attwaters Jameson Hill, our Family Law team is here to offer a helping hand and guide you through the changing divorce landscape. To get in touch, please call 0330 221 8855 firstname.lastname@example.org