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Tracy Cross

Tracy Cross

Partner & Head of Family

Click here to view Tracy’s profile.

At long last the Government has announced a date as to when No Fault Divorce may become a reality for many separating couples.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, will apparently come into force on 6th April 2022.

This is the legislation that will enable separating couples to finally end their marriage legally without having to be separated for long periods of time and without the need to set out blame on one party.

Currently, if a couple separates and they want to divorce they can only do so on the basis that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.  To satisfy the Court that this is the case, unless they both agree to a divorce after being physically separated for 2 years, the divorce must be based on one party’s adultery or unreasonable behaviour.  

For a long time, professionals have been concerned at the further acrimony and distress that is caused by the need to allege blame.  Doing so makes very little, if any, difference to outcomes for most people and so the process has not been serving many separating couples and their families for many years.

The new legislation has been discussed for many years and finally the Government seems to agree that to keep people waiting or encourage blame to be placed, is unhelpful at best and downright destructive at worst.  From next April, the intention will be that the period of separation will not have to be so long, and the process should be much less distressing for the parties involved as no blame need attach.

The delay in implementing the Act is largely due to the need to ensure that the process and technology is fit for purpose.  Many couples now instigate their own divorce via the Government portal for this purpose.  The new process and rules will need to be working properly to ensure that chaos does not follow when the new legislation goes live.  

Many professionals, particularly those solicitors that are members of Resolution – First for Family Law, hope that the change in the law will lead to a better experience of the divorce process for many families and encourage far more amicable attitudes overall.  All Family Lawyers at Band Hatton Button are members of Resolution, as well as Collaboratively trained and include a Resolution trained Accredited Family Mediator.

Contact any member of the Family team for further help and information.