The Secretary of State for Justice has announced today (8 June 2021) that the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 will be come into force on 6 April 2022. This is welcome news as it steers separating couples away from blame culture.
The Act represents the biggest reform of divorce law in over 50 years, with the key feature of the Act being the introduction of ‘no fault’ divorces.
Members of Resolution, a community of family justice professionals who work with families to resolve issues in a constructive way, have campaigned tirelessly for more than 30 years for this change. It is hoped that by removing the element of blame that existed in previous legislation, separating couples will be better able to reach amicable agreements with minimal conflict and avoid expensive and time-consuming litigation.
The Secretary of State for Justice has also stated that the Government intend to use the introduction of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act as an opportunity “to strengthen signposting to family mediation as a means to resolve arrangements for children and the division of assets on divorce”.
It was originally hoped that the Act, which was granted Royal Assent on 25 June 2020, would be effective from Autumn 2021, but due to the need for crucial procedural changes and the introduction of an online digital divorce service, the date has been delayed to 6 April 2022. Whilst the delay is disappointing, it is recognised that the procedural changes are necessary and the delay now will prevent difficulties and uncertainty after April 2022.
The Blake Morgan Family team are all active members of Resolution and the news that the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 will come into force is warmly welcomed by us all. Simon Burge, the Partner leading the Practice Group and Chair of Hampshire Resolution commented:
At long last, the Government has pledged to bring into force much needed 'no fault' legislation which will bring about an end to the culture of blame and recrimination that has bedevilled out Family Justice System for over half a century. No longer will lawyers have to grapple with highly emotive issues such as adultery and unreasonable behaviour when their time and expertise would be better spent helping divorcing couples to find constructive ways in which to untie the knot.
If you are separating and require legal advice or have any questions on the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act, please do get in touch with one of our specialist family lawyers to see what we can do for you.
This article is part of Private Client Issues – June 2021