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New divorce laws from April 2022

Changes to divorce law come into effect in April 2022 as part of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, which seeks to reduce the potential conflict amongst divorcing couples by:
• removing the need/ability to make allegations about the conduct of a spouse
• allowing couples to end their marriage jointly
The legal world has been campaigning for over 10 years to amend out of date rules and permit ‘no fault’ divorce and at long last the changes are finally coming in to law.
The old system of divorce has been enshrined in law for decades, with the last system of changes occurring in legislation dating back to 1973- the world has changed a lot since then and divorce law is finally getting a modern day make over. In the past parties had to prove ‘irretrievable breakdown’ of marriage with one party blaming the other for adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, 2 years separation with consent or 5 years separation.
The new rules mean that all that will be needed from 6th April 2022 is for one party to file a statement to state that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. This will accepted by the court as absolute proof that a divorce is genuinely sort. No reciting of reasons why will be needed. The new rules should simplify the procedure and reduce cost and distress. It is hoped that the new rules should also stop one party dragging their feet and refusing to co-operate as their agreement or admission will not be needed.
The new legislation also introduces a minimum period of 20 weeks between the start of proceedings and application for conditional order (what we would previously have called a decree nisi), which provides couples with a period of reflection and the chance to reconsider. 6 weeks after this a final order (old style decree absolute) will be made.
The old system was open to abuse and allowed one party to ‘defend’ or resist the divorce often at great costs simply because they did not agree with it. The new system is in line with modern thinking against coercive and controlling behaviour to the extent that one party cannot force another to stay married without a long and expensive battle. It also removes the need for waiting 2 or 5 years to even start the process which has hindered people trying to move on in the past.
If you need help to navigate the new or old rules call Adcock’s Family team today 01543 442100 email kd@adcocks.com or maw@adcocks.com for an appointment.

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