Royal Assent Given To Divorce, Dissolution & Separartion Bill

On Thursday 25 June 2020, the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill received Royal Assent and became the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020.

The new laws mean that divorcing couples no longer have to apportion blame to the other party.

Currently, one spouse has to make accusations about the other’s conduct, such as ‘unreasonable behaviour’ or adultery, or otherwise face years of separation before a divorce can be granted – regardless of whether a couple has made a mutual decision to separate.

The new laws will instead allow a spouse, or a couple, to apply for divorce by making a statement of irretrievable breakdown.

There will also be a minimum time frame of six months from the initial application of the divorce to the granting of it, to allow couples the chance to see if their relationship can be reconciled.

Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor Rt Hon Robert Buckland QC MP said:

The institution of marriage will always be upheld, but when divorce cannot be avoided the law should not exacerbate conflict and harm a child’s upbringing.

“These new laws will stop separating couples having to make needless allegations against one another, and instead help them focus on resolving their issues amicably.

“By sparing them the need to play the “blame game”, we are removing the antagonism that this creates so families can better move on with their lives.”

The changes won’t come into effect straight away, due to changes needing to be implemented in the courts as well as online and paper processes.

The changes will begin to be used in late 2021.

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