14th June 2021 has been agreed upon as the date for introducing the Divorce Dissolution and Separation Act.

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14th June 2021 has been agreed upon as the date for introducing the Divorce Dissolution and Separation Act.

Divorce Dissolution and Separation Act 2020
The date for the introduction of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act has been agreed upon.

We are overjoyed to learn that the Divorce Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, which will finally allow married couples to divorce without assigning blame, will take effect on 6th April 2022.

Although the delay in implementation (the new rules were expected to take effect in October 2021) will disappoint many who have been waiting for the new legislation to pass before filing a petition for divorce, dissolution of marriage, or civil partnership, it is motivating that there is now a set deadline to work toward.

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The next ten months before the new act takes effect will provide sufficient time for necessary IT changes to HM Courts and Tribunal Service’s online divorce systems to be implemented and for practitioners like ourselves to become fully acquainted with the new rules.

What exactly does this imply?

The Divorce Dissolution and Separation Bill is the most significant overhaul of England and Wales’ divorce laws in 50 years. The greatly anticipated Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 has now received Royal Assent and been passed as law, bringing with it no-fault divorce. 

The current list of five permissible grounds for divorce (adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, agreement of the parties after two years’ separation, or a request by one party after five years’ separation) has been replaced by a single mechanism in which either one or both of the parties to the marriage or civil partnership states that the marriage or civil partnership has broken down.

It should be noted that under the new legislation if one party initiates the divorce alone, the other party will be unable to defend the petition or prevent the divorce from being granted. All that is required is for at least one spouse to provide a legal declaration stating that the marriage or civil partnership has irretrievably broken down. This statement will be conclusive evidence that the opposing party cannot dispute.

It is widely accepted that no-fault divorces more accurately reflect modern relationships, and this change in the law is anticipated to make divorce and separation less traumatic and adversarial. This is clearly in the best interests of families experiencing the trauma of divorce, especially when children are involved. Additionally, the new procedure should reduce legal costs.

The new law does not provide for immediate divorce. Instead, between the initial application and the issuance of a conditional order, a minimum of 20 weeks must pass, followed by another six weeks between the issuance of the conditional and final orders. This means that even the most straightforward divorces will take at least six months to complete.

A Simplified Procedure

The no-fault option will make it significantly more accessible for people to reach an amicable agreement, allowing us as legal professionals to assist couples in resolving issues and managing their separation more positively. This inevitably reduces stress, confrontation, and costs, while also mitigating the negative impact of family breakdown on any involved children.

At Tann Law, we are committed to alleviating the burden of stressful divorce and avoiding unnecessary conflict. We are strong proponents of couples being able to divorce without assigning blame and have long advocated for the passage of this new legislation.

This change in the divorce law is long overdue, and we hope that its implementation will benefit divorcing couples by allowing them to focus on agreeing on positive future arrangements for their families.

The new law makes no changes to the rules governing financial settlements or child care arrangements. However, expert legal advice and representation remain critical for anyone going through the divorce process, and seeking such advice early on are always beneficial. Tann Law Solicitors is available to assist you in navigating the new law, which takes effect on 6th April next year, but we at Tann Law Solicitors are also available to assist you under current legislation.

We offer a complimentary 30-minute consultation during which we will assist and support you as you begin the process of seeking a divorce. We are also very accessible with online consultations and face to face consultations in our offices in Coventry and Birmingham. Andrew Nyamayaro, Director and Principal Solicitor of Family Law at Tann Law Solicitors, can be contacted on 024776323232 or via email at info@tannlaw.co.uk for excellent, friendly advice.

Tann Law Solicitors
Tann Law Solicitors
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