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The 46-year-old divorce law requiring couples to blame one another for the breakdown of a marriage is set to undergo a significant change in 2019. Bray & Bray explains the forthcoming divorce law reforms and what they mean for those considering divorce.

The divorce law reforms, which the Government has said will be introduced as soon as parliamentary time allows, means divorcing parties will not need to cite examples of unreasonable behaviour, adultery or desertion as grounds for divorce. A statement of irretrievable breakdown can now be submitted instead.

Statement of irretrievable breakdown

A statement of irretrievable breakdown will replace the requirement to provide evidence of a ‘fact’ around behaviour or separation. It has been suggested that the current law can create unnecessary hostility between parents. Consequently, this can be damaging to children’s wellbeing and have a detrimental effect on ex-partners’ future co-parenting relationships.

David Berridge, Partner and Head of the Family Department at Bray & Bray, explains:

“The new divorce law reforms will not just assist in speeding up the divorce process but will also contribute towards making it less acrimonious for those involved. Studies have shown how parental conflict can have a significant impact on children’s wellbeing. Therefore, these new reforms are a step in the right direction towards reducing the damage that divorce can sometimes cause.”

Joint applications

Also included in the proposed changes is the option of a joint application for divorce. This is in addition to the option already available for one party to initiate the divorce process. The joint application will be aimed at couples who have made a mutual choice to part ways. In this circumstance, the current UK law requires spouses to provide evidence they have been separated for a minimum of 2 years.

Other divorce law reforms

Additionally, another welcomed change is the removal of the ability to contest a divorce, a practice known to be exploited in abusive relationships. Abusers will sometimes contest a divorce solely to maintain a level of control over their spouse.

Further divorce law reforms include retaining the two-stage legal process known as decree nisi and decree absolute, and introducing a minimum timeframe of 6 months from petition to final divorce (20 weeks from petition stage to decree nisi; 6 weeks from decree nisi to decree absolute).

How Bray & Bray can help

If you’re unsure about any aspect of the law relating to a marital breakdown, we will be happy to provide legal advice. Our team of specialist divorce lawyers will handle every aspect of your divorce. We can help with the wider implications of your separation, including children and financial issues.

Contact us about your divorce today and our team will be happy to help. Our family lawyers are based at each of our three main offices in Leicestershire. Contact us by calling or clicking on the link below, or pop into one of our offices.

Leicester: call us on 0116 254 8871.

Hinckley: call us on 01455 639 900.

Market Harborough: call us on 01858 467 181.