Family Law Hub

Government publishes much anticipated consultation on divorce reform

Consultation on removing the five facts required for divorce plus other matters. Responses required by 10 December.

  • The Ministry of Justice has published its much anticipated consultation on divorce reform over the weekend. 

    The policy objective underpinning the proposed reforms is to reduce family conflict and is steered by two principles: 

    "to make sure that the decision to divorce continues to be a considered one, and that spouses have an opportunity to change course; and to make sure that divorcing couples are not put through legal requirements which do not serve their or society's interests and which can lead to conflict and accordingly poor outcomes for children."

    Under the proposals, irretrievable breakdown will still be the sole ground for divorce and the two stage process of decree nisi and decree absolute will remain in place. However, instead of forcing petitioners to give evidence of one of the five divorce facts, they will simply need to give notice to the court that they believe the marriage has broken down irretrievably, though the court would still 

    "not be able to grant the first and interim decree (the decree nisi) if it was not satisfied that the marriage had broken down irretrievably"

    The Government is also proposing that the ability to contest a divorce (their preferred terminology in place of defended) will be curtailed and that there should be a minimum timeframe between the issue of a decree nisi and the decree absolute

    "to give the couple time to consider the implications of the decision to divorce and to agree practical arrangements for the future, both for them and for any children."

    Six months is the suggestion set out in the consultation paper.

    The consultation paper and a link to the online response survey can be found on the GOV.UK website here.

News, published: 17/09/2018

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Published: 17/09/2018

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