The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill (or ‘no-fault divorce bill’) is due to have its second reading in the House of Commons today (8th June 2020). The Family law team at SAS Daniels supports the reform, as we feel the present system creates unnecessary hostility between couples who want to divorce amicably; the no-fault divorce bill aims to end the ‘blame game’ at present between divorcing couples in the past. However, it is understood that some oppose the bill, as they do not feel it gives couples the chance to reflect on the breakdown of their marriage.
Prior to COVID-19, it took an average of 12 weeks from filing a petition to decree nisi (a Court document confirming that you are entitled to divorce), provided there were no delays to the process by the receiving party.
An application for no-fault divorce could still be challenged under the proposed new law based on: jurisdiction, the legal validity of the marriage, fraud or coercion and procedural compliance. There will be a new minimal period of 20 weeks between petition and decree nisi. Also, there is an existing period of 6 weeks from nisi to Absolute. It seems that once the Act comes into force, the process will be slower.
Divorce is stressful enough for couples who are struggling with their marriage; but the proposed Bill is seen as a welcomed change by many and a hopeful turning point against placing unnecessary blame on the another party.