The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 is a piece of legislation in the United Kingdom that makes significant changes to the process of obtaining a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership. The Act introduces a new “no-fault” divorce system and aims to simplify and modernize the process of ending a marriage or civil partnership.
The key changes introduced by the Act include:
- No-fault divorce: The Act introduces a new “no-fault” divorce system, allowing couples to apply for a divorce or dissolution without having to allege fault on the part of the other party, such as adultery or unreasonable behavior. Instead, they will only need to state that the marriage or civil partnership has irretrievably broken down.
- Joint applications: The Act allows couples to make a joint application for divorce or dissolution, rather than having to nominate one person as the petitioner.
- Removal of the possibility of contesting: The Act removes the ability for one party to contest the divorce or dissolution, making the process simpler and quicker.
- Minimum timeframe: The Act introduces a minimum timeframe of 20 weeks from the start of the divorce proceedings to the issuance of a conditional order, and a further 6 weeks from the issuance of the conditional order to the final order.
Overall, the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 represents a significant reform of the divorce process in England and Wales, moving towards a system that is more modern, amicable, and less adversarial. The Act aims to reduce conflict between couples and make the process of ending a marriage or civil partnership simpler, quicker, and less stressful for all involved.
Guidance from the President of the Family Division – The Right Honourable Sir Andrew McFarlane in relation to the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 was issued on the 28th March 2022.
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