Important Announcement – Grounds for Divorce

The Divorce Dissolution and Separation Bill is currently passing through parliament and committees. As you may have determined from press coverage, this will change how parties to a marriage can seek a divorce. Please note that the financial remedy aspects of the divorce are not changing and we do not yet have a date for implementation of the new regime, although the government is committed to seeing this achieved during the lifetime of the current parliament, if possible.

Hitherto divorce has been governed by the provisions of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. In the intervening 46 years, there have only been some minor changes but the new Act will remove the entitlement to divorce on the basis of adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, separation (with consent) or separation (without consent). The new Act will also remove the availability for the party not seeking a divorce to defend and object.

It is understood (subject to seeing the detail) that either party or, importantly, both parties, can agree or serve notice on the other that they consider the marriage is over. After a delay of some 20 weeks the paperwork can be lodged with the Court. There will be an interim conditional Order akin to the existing Decree Nisi and after a final cooling off period of six weeks the final Order (Decree Absolute) can be pronounced.

Pengillys LLP’s Family Team will update once further information is known and if you think this may affect you please do not hesitate to communicate with us.