This Month: how could the new divorce lawshelp an amicable divorce

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A local expert from Citizen’s Advice provides timely tips on consumer issues.
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Q: “My wife and I have been married for ten years but we have been gradually growing apart. We feel that our marriage has broken down and we have decided that we want to get divorced but it is amicable and we don’t want to have to pin the blame on one or other or us. What can we do?

A: This is a very timely question.
The biggest reform of divorce law in 50 years came into force on 6 April under the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020. This applies to all applications for divorce, ending a civil partnership, judicial separation and annulment issued on or after 6 April 2022 . The key changes in the law include:

• No blame or separation periods – simply a statement of ‘irretrievable breakdown’ is required
• Joint and sole applications now possible
• Minimum 26 weeks to final order
• Limited ground to dispute
• Changes in terminology – ‘applications’, ‘conditional orders’, ‘final orders’

If you want to get divorced or to dissolve your civil partnership, you can apply online – you can find the forms on GOV.UK here. Any application that was issued before 6 April will continue under the old rules. An application submitted before 6 April but not issued in time is likely to be returned by the court to be started again under the new procedure.

There is more information about all of this on the Citizens Advice website.

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