A new Bill introduces the concept of ‘no fault divorce’ into England and Wales. Prior to the Bill, in order to petition for divorce, one party had to accuse the other of some sort of ‘bad’ conduct, whether that be adultery, unreasonable behaviour, or desertion.
Under the new rules, one party, or even both, may apply for a divorce by making a statement of irretrievable breakdown. The statement itself will be conclusive and so no possibility of one party contesting the application. Terminology will also change: ‘petitioners’ will become ‘applications’ and decree nisi and decree absolute will instead be known as the conditional order and the final order.
While the changes are supposed to reduce the animosity which can be created on divorce, the process may not necessarily be faster: there will be new minimum period of 20 weeks between the commencement of proceedings and when a conditional order can be granted.
The effects of the Bill are not due to be felt until autumn next year.
Please contact Audley Chaucer to discuss any aspect of reconciliation, separation or divorce.