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10 July 2019

Fault Free Divorce – an Update

Back in April, the government announced new legislation to overhaul the divorce law in England and Wales.

This means divorcing couples will no longer have to select one of five facts as the reason for the irretrievable break down of the marriage which has been criticised for antagonising an already very stressful situation.

The new Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill will introduce several key reforms which aims to take away the “blame” element of a divorce including the introduction of a no fault divorce and the option to file a joint divorce petition.

A member of our family team, Emma Alfieri, campaigned in Parliament for “fault free” divorce in 2016 with family law group Resolution and whilst this is a very welcome change amongst family lawyers, the introduction of the new legislation is still a distance away.

The Bill has currently had its first and second reading in the House of Commons and went through the committee stage on 02 July 2019. The Law Society has submitted their report to the Committee and has highlighted key areas which they consider need amendment. The Committee scrutinise the Bill line by line and every clause is either agreed to, changed or removed from the Bill.

The next stage in the process is the report stage and the third reading, however the dates for this are yet to be announced. Once this has taken place, the Bill will then go through the same process in the House of Lords before both Houses consider the amendments and agree the wording of the Bill. The final stage in the process is for the Bill to receive Royal Assent.

In the meantime, the divorce procedure is still based on the current law however, it is positive news that the Bill is making its way through Parliament. For up to date information on the Bill’s process, please follow the link: https://services.parliament.uk/Bills/2017-19/divorcedissolutionandseparation.html

For more information regarding separating from your partner, please contact our family law team on family@steeleslaw.co.uk or 01603 598000.