Insight

The impact of the new divorce legislation

Following enforcement of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 (DDSA 2020) on 6 April 2022, married couples are no longer required to assign blame when commencing divorce proceedings.

The new legislation has been described as a landmark reform in divorce law by completely removing the need for the parties to prove one of the historical ‘five facts’ of divorce. Instead, the parties can jointly or individually file for divorce or civil partnership dissolution which in effect is a less acrimonious and time-consuming approach in compare to the previous process.

In the first week after introduction of the DDSA 2020, over 3,000 divorce applications were filed at the HM Court & Tribunals Service which resulted in over 50% increase on the number of weekly average applications received by courts.[i]  The astonishing surge in the divorce applications could be attributed to couples holding back for implementation of the ‘no-fault’ divorce legislation which was available from April 2022.

The precise implications of the new divorce law cannot be known at these early stages but what we can be certain of is that the ‘no-fault’ divorce has made the process far more amicable for those wishing to come out of unworkable or undesirable marriages.

In addition to removal of the fault element from the divorce proceedings, there have also been some additional changes which are as follows:

  • The archaic terminologies such as ‘decree nisi’ and ‘decree absolute’ are replaced with more simple and understandable terminologies such as ‘conditional divorce order’ and ‘final divorce order’
  • The consent of the parties to divorce or dissolution of a partnership is no longer required
  • A new timeframe of 26 weeks is introduced from the commencement of divorce proceedings and the final divorce order being made
  • The age for legal marriage has been increased to 18 which applies to both cultural and religious marriages

It is hoped that the new legislation will enable parties to resolve matters with less conflict, there being no need for blame to be apportioned in the divorce proceedings itself. It is also anticipated  that this will assist parties to deal constructively with other related issues, such as arrangements for their children and issues relating to finances, which will be a benefit to the wellbeing of any children involved.

Our dedicated family team at Axiom DWFM are here to advise and guide you through every step of the process if you are considering getting divorce or dissolving your civil partnership. Please feel free to get in touch for a free consultation by filing an enquiry form online or calling us.

[i] https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/divorce-applications-up-in-first-week-of-no-fault-era/5112198.article

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