Update on the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill15th July 2020
On 25th June 2020, the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation bill concluded its long journey through the House of Commons and obtained Royal Assent.
Whilst many family law solicitors and divorcing couples are delighted to see the bill finally become a law, they have been told to expect further delays whilst changes to the court forms and online portal are implemented. Robert Buckland, Lord Chancellor, has informed MPs that any couples seeking a no-fault divorce will have to wait until autumn 2021.
Gilbert Stephens has written about this bill before and have followed its progress throughout parliament. One of the bill’s main reforms is to bring about the ‘no-fault’ divorce, which will work to end the blame game for couples that wish to separate.
For couples to separate on a no-fault basis in England and Wales as it stands, both individuals would have to confirm that they have been separated for two years or more. The bill is set to replace this separation period with a shorter, 26-week notice period. To familiarise yourself on further details of the legislation, you can read our latest article here.
Along with the delay to introducing the legislation, there have also been concerns regarding when the 26-week notice period should begin.
President of The Law Society, Simon Davis, says, “we have long argued the notice period should begin when the divorce application is received by the respondent rather than when the divorce is applied for – ensuring both partners are on the same page from the start and have sufficient time to seek the legal and financial advice they need. We commend the government for moving forward with the legislation and would welcome any opportunities to address our concerns around the notice period”.
Divorce is never easy, but Gilbert Stephens Solicitors are optimistic that the new legislation will help couples resolve their issues more effectively.