On 17 June 2020, the Bill changing the law to allow couples to obtain a no-fault divorce was finally approved by the House of Commons. Subject to any amendments by the upper House and consideration being given to how it will be implemented, it is expected that it will become law in autumn 2021.
The existing law requires couples to allege “grounds” of adultery or unreasonable behaviour unless they are prepared to wait for at least two years. The need to prove grounds does not help in keeping matters on an amicable basis, particularly when there are children involved and the couple needs to have an ongoing relationship as parents.
Mike Follis Head of Family Department at Davies and Partners welcomes the news. He said, “The passage of this Bill has been long-awaited and I believe it will help to reduce animosity. Couples need to concentrate on the important matters including the arrangements for children and the financial consequences of the divorce. The “blame game” of the existing law was an unhealthy distraction and potentially damaging”.
“I appreciate these changes will not please everyone and the debate will continue as to how to best support family units. In my experience, the need to prove grounds has rarely been an obstacle to obtain a divorce. However, it was often an aggravating factor in a difficult process”.