Changes to the Divorce Law


The Divorce Law in England and Wales is about to undergo the biggest shake up in decades.  The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 comes into force from 6th April 2022.  The key reforms involved removing the requirement to provide evidence of conduct or separation.  This is replaced with a simple requirement to provide a statement of irretrievably breakdown of the marriage or civil partnership.

It also removes the ability to defend the decision to divorce or end the civil partnership.  The act allows joint applications but as far as we can see at present those may be well intended but rather unwieldy to manage.  We have always advised clients to undertake a divorce as amicably as possible in any event and this will continue.

The legal language is changing and the application will be called just that rather than a Petition.  The Petitioner becomes the Applicant and the Respondent stays the same.  Parties will no longer receive a Decree Nisi but instead a Conditional Order and Decree Absolute becomes Final Order.

The new law aims to remove the requirement to either delay matters two years or to assign blame.  It does not however simplify the process as such and there is a new minimum overall timeframe of six months between the process starting and finishing.

The key point is that your Final Order will still not resolve finances between you.  To protect yourself and your family you should still ensure you obtain a Financial Remedy Order, preferably by consent, but if necessary by attending court.  The vast majority of our cases do settle following a process of exchanging financial disclosure and negotiation.

Contact us for further advice on these big changes.