No Fault Divorce passes through House of Commons

Legally reviewed by: Shakeela Bi In: Family

‘No-fault divorce’ to finally become law after decades of campaigning

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill has now cleared the final stages of parliamentary scrutiny in the House of Commons.

Resolution, the national family justice body, has been campaigning for over thirty years to end the requirement for couples to assign fault in order to be granted a divorce.

The new Bill received support from all sides of the House. During the course of discussions, several amendments to the legislation were tabled, but these ended up either being withdrawn or defeated.

The new law will allow couples to divorce without assigning blame, which family lawyers believe will reduce conflict between separating parties, and make divorce kinder and more civilised. Previously, our divorce laws often lead to a dangerous and harmful ‘blame game’ taking place, making it more difficult for separating couples to come to an agreement about finances and/or child arrangements, and increasing levels of acrimony, with a resultant negative impact on any children of the family. According to a leading study by the Nuffield Foundation (in collaboration with the University of Exeter), 43% of those identified by their spouse as at fault for the breakdown of the marriage disagreed with the reasons cited in the divorce petition.

The next step is for the Bill to receive royal assent (after which it passes into law), but there will then need to be a number of changes made to divorce rules, procedures and forms. This means that it is likely to be 2021 before no-fault divorces will start to take place.

Cartwright King has lawyers in many areas of law, and the information we are sharing has been written by family lawyer Simeon Bowen-Fanstone.

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