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23rd June, 2020

No Fault Divorce Bill Passed…

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Following the passing of the Divorce, Separation and Dissolution Bill in parliament, Family Law Solicitor Katie Hughes-Beddows comments on the impact of this change to divorce law in the UK

Following news that the Divorce, Separation and Dissolution Bill has been passed by parliament with the legislation due to take effect from Autumn 2021, Katie Hughes-Beddows, a Resolution Accredited Family Law Solicitor at Aaron & Partners, said:

“This change is the biggest shake-up of divorce law in this country for half a century and now means that couples can make a sole or joint statement of ‘irretrievable breakdown of the marriage,’ which will replace the need to provide reasons or fault as to why the marriage has broken down.

“As a firm, we welcome the changes ahead, which are due to come into force from Autumn 2021.   Separating couples do not take the decision to divorce lightly. The checks and balances brought by the minimum timeframes introduced by the Act should ensure that these variations will allow a shift in focus away from blame and towards resolution, with the parties able to focus instead on the future financial and child arrangements in a less contentious environment.

“The new law also removes the opportunity to contest the divorce and now means there will be a mandatory minimum period of 20 weeks from the start of the proceedings to the pronouncement of the Decree Nisi.

“In an age where separating couples are encouraged to take a conciliatory approach towards the resolution of their finances and the arrangements for children, removing the conflict caused by blaming the other spouse for the breakdown of the marriage has its obvious benefits.

“Critics of the new laws have concerns that making the process too simplistic might shake the core values of marriage and allow people to rush into a divorce without giving it a proper thought. There is no evidence from other countries where ‘no-fault’ divorce is applicable that this is the case.

“Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has supported the changes throughout, reassuring the opponents to the new laws that “The institution of marriage will always be vitally important, but we must never allow a situation where our laws exacerbate conflict and harm a child’s upbringing.”

“Generally, the appetite for the change amongst family lawyers is welcomed. The proposed modifications encourage a less acrimonious start to the process of separation and will greatly assist those who face new challenges as co-parents. The evidence of harm caused to children caught in the conflict of separating parents is well documented and to minimise the chances of this must be a positive step.”

Aaron & Partners experienced family law team provide a range of bespoke services to discerning clients faced with family-related difficulties, providing expert guidance and pragmatic solutions.

Katie Hughes-Beddows


Email: [email protected]
Tel: 01743 294 132

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