You may have heard in the news in the last couple of weeks that, at very long last after many years of campaigning by family lawyers, the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation bill has received royal assent.
It will not however be in force until 2021, hopefully earlier rather than later next year.
What it will mean is that divorcing couples will no longer have to make a choice about who should be the one raising unreasonable behaviour allegations against the other, or accusing the other of adultery. At the moment, the only way you can avoid blaming the other spouse if you want to start divorce proceedings, is to wait for two years and then obtain the other party’s consent.
The details have not yet been confirmed, but there will still be a waiting period from when the couple first indicate their intention to divorce, but a matter of months, not years. You will then simply need to pronounce the fact that you consider the marriage has irretrievably broken down and not have to provide any further explanation.
Family law professionals are optimistic that this neutral start to the end of a marriage will pave the way to much less antagonistic and stressful proceedings, through to a consent finance order and agreeing arrangements for the children. Although it will not be a universal panacea for sweetness and light throughout the matrimonial proceedings, it will be very helpful to avoid starting off on the wrong foot, which is very often the case with the current divorce law.
Your family law specialist will keep you informed about the progress of the legislative changes and of the earliest opportunity when you can file for a divorce under the new procedure once you have sadly decided that this is necessary.