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To the delight of family lawyers and divorce law reform campaigners, it was announced on Tuesday 9th April 2019 that the divorce laws in England and Wales will finally be changed.

What is the current law?

Under the current law you have to prove that your marriage has irretrievably broken down by relying on one of five facts. Three out of the five facts, namely adultery, unreasonable behaviour and desertion involve asserting fault and blame. To rely on one of the other two remaining facts and you have to be separated for at least two years if not five. Neither option offers relief for those who have simply reached the conclusion that their marriage has come to an end and wish to divorce as amicably as possible.

What will the new law be?

The main changes are as follows: –

  • Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage will remain the sole ground for a divorce. However, instead of relying on conduct or separation facts as evidence, a statement of irretrievable breakdown will have to be provided;
  • Parties will have the option to make a joint application;
  • It will no longer be possible to contest an application meaning that the divorce will still be able to go ahead even if one party is against it;
  • There will be a minimum 6-month period requirement between making the divorce application and the divorce being finalised in order to allow parties to have sufficient time to reflect and ensure that they are certain they wish to proceed.

The new law should hopefully finally bring about a process that allows for couples to be able to divorce in a more amicable way and which reduces the stress involved in what is already an incredibly difficult situation.

It has been indicated that the new law will be introduced as soon as there is Parliamentary time.

To read the full consultation report on the divorce reform, click here

If you would like any further information in relation to obtaining a divorce, please do not hesitate to contact us on  or 0113 322 9222 and we will be more than happy to speak with you for a free initial consultation.

divorce reform