The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill became an Act of Parliament on 25 June 2020. It however expected to take some time to implement; the Lord Chancellor, Robert Buckland, has suggested that it should come into force in the autumn of 2021.
Once in force, couples will be able to obtain a divorce without one party being required to attribute blame to the other.
Either or both parties, will be able to apply to the Court for a ‘Divorce Order’; the application must be accompanied by a statement confirming that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
The applicant(s) will be required to confirm to the Courts after 20 weeks, that they wish for their application to continue, so that a Conditional Order can be made; and 6 weeks thereafter the Courts can grant a Divorce Order, dissolving the marriage.
The 26-week period between application and divorce has sparked some debate, but overall the Bill is a very welcome update for family lawyers. After 30 years of campaigning by Resolution and other groups, the Bill is a step towards minimising the negative impact of divorce on parties, their children, and family lives more generally.