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Changes in divorce law ahead!

“Call of support from all parties for landmark government bill”

Could this finally be the end of “mudslinging” for divorcing couples?

Divorcing couples will soon no longer have to make allegations about each other’s conduct, after a landmark bill was introduced today (13/06/19) by Justice Secretary David Gauke.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill aims to make divorce less acrimonious – reforming our 50-year-old divorce laws – to ensure the process better supports couples to move forward when a relationship regrettably breaks down with antagonism but co-operation on all key issues, including how best to bring up children in a split family.

Current law, forces spouses to evidence breakdown through conduct such as ‘unreasonable behaviour’ or face at least two years of separation, even in cases where a couple have made a mutual decision to separate.

Professionals have decreed that this requirement can set the scene for acrimony and conflict.  Therefore, these new reforms remove conflict and introduce a minimum overall timeframe, encouraging couples to approach arrangements as constructively and cooperatively as possible.

Specifically, the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill will:

  • Replace the current requirement to evidence either a conduct or separation ‘fact’ with the provision of a statement of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage (couples can opt to make this a joint statement).
  • Remove the possibility of contesting the decision to divorce, as a statement will be conclusive evidence that the marriage has broken down.
  • Introduces a new minimum period of 20 weeks from the start of proceedings to confirmation to the court that a conditional order may be made, allowing greater opportunity for reflection and, where couples cannot reconcile and divorce is inevitable, agreeing practical arrangements for the future.

If you need assistance with a divorce and/or want advice on the division of assets in your marriage, such as the matrimonial home, then please contact the office on 01273 823456 to speak to one of our solicitors.