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No fault divorce route finally opens up for couples

The no fault divorce route is to finally become available to couples.

After years of campaigning and lobbying, the government has finally committed to introduce the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act on 6 April 2022.

Although the date is later than had been widely anticipated, it is now a firm commitment, not just a proposal or a date to work towards.

Nigel Shepherd, who was the former chair of Resolution, has led the call for no fault divorce for many years. Commenting on the government announcement, he said: “ Whilst any delay is disappointing, we do now have certainty over the introduction of this important reform and will be able to advise clients accordingly.”

It is believed that the delay is to allow for the necessary IT work to the HMCT’s online divorce system to take place.

Richard Johnson, specialist divorce lawyer at Atherton Godfrey, said: “No fault divorce is long overdue. The no fault concept will minimise opportunities for conflict, reduce the emotional cost of separation and minimise the impact on any children the couple have.

“Although we would have preferred the Act to become law much sooner, we appreciate that the new process can only work in the way it’s intended if the IT system is fit for purpose.

“At least we are now in a position that we can advise clients about the no-fault route if they wish to divorce.”

Mr Shepherd added: “We have met with the Ministry of Justice on a regular basis … and have received assurances that the government remains fully committed to bringing the Act into force. We will continue to work with them as the date for implementation approaches.”

Under current laws, even if both parties agree to the divorce, one must take the blame for the marriage breaking down, unless they have been living apart for more than two years.

If you are considering divorce or separation, talk to us. We are experienced family law specialists and can give you the expert advice you need. Call 01302 320621 for a confidential discussion with one of our friendly team.