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No-fault divorce - a step forward

View profile for John Boon
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On 9 April 2019 the Justice Secretary, David Gauke, announced that the Government would introduce legislation, as soon as possible, to allow married couples to divorce without blaming the other party for the breakdown of the marriage/civil partnership.   The legislation, if passed, will represent a significant change to the divorce system, which has been in place for well over 50 years.    The new rules are said to include the minimum timeframe of six months from the presentation of the Petition to the pronouncement of the Decree Absolute, allowing the parties a “meaningful period of reflection”.    It is said that there will also be an option for couples to apply for a divorce on a joint basis.   

The announcement follows a growing cause for a no-fault divorce to be introduced following the well-publicised case of Mr and Mrs Owens, which was heard by the Supreme Court in 2018.     Following that case, the Government announced a consultation on the introduction of no-fault divorce.   

It remains to be seen when the legislation will be brought before Parliament.    It has been said by Mr Gauke that the legislation will be introduced “when Parliamentary time allows”.    It also remains to be seen whether there will be any opposition to the legislation.    Here, it should be noted that a no-fault divorce was proposed as far back as 1996 by the Conservative Government under Sir John Major.   However, that provision was subsequently dropped from the Family Law Act 1996. 

For further information regarding the continued debate over no-fault divorce, please see the previous above articles published by John Boon and Joel Tweddell.  

Here at Roythornes, a member of our specialist Family Law team will be able to advise on the divorce/dissolution process, or any related family law issues.   We regularly deal with cases in the East Midlands, East Anglia, Kent and beyond.  The team is happy to accommodate a meeting at any of Roythornes' offices in Spalding, Peterborough, Nottingham or Alconbury, by telephone, or by Skype/video conferencing.   

Please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Family Law team by telephone – 01775 842500 – to discuss matters.   Alternatively, please send an e-mail to nickingrey@roythornes.co.uk.