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As we approach what for a a lot of people is the most stressful and emotional part of the year, the new UK government has put the bill for No-Fault divorce back on the table by including it in the supporting documents of the Queens speech.
Although not directly featured in the Queens speech, the government has pledged to remove the unnecessary conflict from divorce.
The bill still has to go back through Parliament before implementation.
The main points of the new bill are to retain the sole ground of divorce as “irretrievable breakdown” but replace the requirement to also make an allegation about the other spouse’s conduct.
The new legislation will mean divorcing couples no longer have to blame each other for the breakdown of their marriage. The new rules would encourage couples to be “as constructive as possible”.
An option for a joint application will also be introduced where the decision to divorce is a mutual one.
Another part of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill is to increase the length of time it takes to divorce. Currently, there is a 6 week and 1 day “cooling-off” period to ensure couples are completely sure with their decision.
This takes place between Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute stages. In addition to this, there will be a 20 week period between the start of proceedings and Decree Nisi.
This will take the minimum timeframe to complete a divorce to 6 months.
The government has also mentioned allocating more money for the judiciary system. It is hoped that the divorce centres will receive some much needed additional budget.
Although the recent report provided by the Office of National Statistics show a decrease in divorce rates, the decrease in the divorce rate is mainly due to administrative issues and not lack of demand.
The latest report details data from 2018 show divorce rates drop by 10.7% from 2017.
Carol Sullivan from Divorce Negotiator Ltd said “It is thought that the reported divorce rate will rise in 2019, with the hopeful improvement in processing at the 10 divorce centres.
The divorce centres are also going to take on online applications for Consent Orders too, so without significant investment, the divorce system will continue to stuggle to cope with the backlog.. If the new law gets passed quickly, it could put added strain on an already stretched system..”