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New Divorce Legislation

No-Fault Divorce

The Government has announced that they are introducing new legislation to allow a divorce decree to be pronounced without allegations being made.

The bill is intended to be progressed quickly without being bogged down in the House of Commons which has a very full parliamentary session because of Brexit.

What is proposed is that there will be filed with the Court a statement that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

Whereas at present it is possible to defend the divorce proceedings either on the basis that the marriage has not broken down or that the facts are not true that the ability to contest the tradition for divorce will be removed.

It is envisaged that in 20 weeks from the start of the proceedings the Court will be able to make a Conditional Order.

No need for blame

The legislators say that in taking away the need to “blame” it should take away needless antagonism. This should allow families to get on with their lives.

Some will of course say that this new procedure undermines the institution of marriage.  Most family lawyers believe that the proposed legislation achieves a good compromise.

Scope and impact

The legislation also will cover civil partnerships with parallel legislation.

The legislation when approved is not going to affect existing areas of matrimonial law, particularly issues of financial provision proceedings consequent upon the breakdown of the marriage.

Children and their needs will remain a paramount consideration in matrimonial financial provision proceedings and the separate ability for the Court to regulate children matters will also be preserved.


Richard B Manning – February 2020

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