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No-fault Divorce One Step Closer

View profile for Donna Leigh
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Back in 2016, Pamela Donnellan examined the prospect of a 'no-fault' divorce option being introduced into England and Wales. That prospect now looks like becoming a reality soon, though not soon enough for many. Especially for those whose relationships have been stretched beyond breaking point during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill passed its third reading in the House of Commons on 18 June 2020 bringing no-fault divorce one step closer. Whilst this is welcome news and Royal Assent should follow soon, it is anticipated that No-Fault divorce will not be available as an option to separated spouses until Autumn 2021. The Lord Chancellor, Robert Buckland, has reportedly told MPs that the Bill’s reforms will not come in to force immediately ‘because time needs to be allowed for careful implementation’.

Although Autumn 2021 may seem to be a long way in the future, this is still most welcome news amongst family law practitioners. It comes after over 30 years of campaigning for change in the law. It will allow family lawyers to support their clients  to divorce in a less hostile manner, as they will no longer be faced with the choice between waiting at least 2 years from the date of separation or ‘playing the blame game’ in order to divorce. This will hopefully serve to minimise the impact of the divorce proceedings on not only the separated couple, but any children of the family.