No-fault divorce – When will the blame game end?
Yesterday, the government announced that the ‘no-fault’ divorce provisions of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 (DDSA) which were due to come into force in autumn 2021 have been postponed until the 6th April 2022.
This unfortunately means that the ‘blame game’ will continue to be an issue for recently separated parties seeking to divorce before the implementation of the new no-fault provisions.
The Act itself was passed in June 2020 bringing with it sweeping changes to the current divorce process and the biggest shake-up in divorce law for 50 years.
The new law will:
- Replace the current ‘five facts’ and evidence of conduct with a new statement of irretrievable breakdown
- Allow for the possibility of joint applications
- Make contested divorces a thing of the past, with the statement being conclusive evidence of irretrievable breakdown
- Simplify the language used in the divorce process. For instance, changing decree nisi to a ‘conditional order’ and decree absolute to a ‘final order’
The above changes will also apply to the dissolution of civil partnerships and not simply to divorce.
Removing the blame requirement is welcome news for family lawyers, many of whom view the current divorce process as outdated, serving only to increase animosity between the parties in what are already difficult circumstances.
Although the implementation of no-fault divorce will be later than anticipated and the delay disappointing news for many, it will undoubtedly minimise conflict and help couples to focus on practical issues involving their children, property and finances.
Article by Fotoulla Menikou, family law solicitor
8th June 2021