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No-fault divorce comes into force

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 came fully into force on 6 April 2022. The measures introduced by the Act include:

• Replacing the requirement to evidence either a conduct or separation 'fact' with the provision of a statement of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage (for the first time, couples can opt to make this a joint statement).

• Removing the possibility of disputing the decision to divorce, as a statement will be conclusive evidence that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, except on limited technical grounds.

• Introducing a new minimum period of 20 weeks from the start of proceedings to a conditional order of divorce being made, allowing greater opportunity for couples to agree practical arrangements for the future where reconciliation is not possible and divorce is inevitable.

• Simplifying the language of divorce to make it more understandable. This includes replacing the terms 'decree nisi', 'decree absolute' and 'petitioner', with 'conditional order', 'final order' and 'applicant'.

Resolution has hailed the reforming legislation saying that "this historic change will mean the end of the blame game for divorcing couples".

For the amended Family Procedure Rules, click here. For the 2020 Act, click here. For Government guidance for the public, click here. For a brief guide to procedure, click here.