Changes to how you divorce

Private Client Team with Natalie Thomas Associate Solicitor DJM Solicitors


On 6 April this year The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 reforms the legal requirements and process for divorce.

The new laws will mean that instead of having to attribute blame to one party, a couple can mutually cite ‘irretrievable breakdown’ as the sole ground for wanting to obtain a divorce. This can be done in a joint statement or by an individual.

The act aims to reduce the potential for conflict amongst divorcing couples by:

  • removing the ability to make allegations about the conduct of a spouse
  • allowing couples to end their marriage jointly

The divorce application can be made online, meaning the postal delays can be avoided.

There will be no requirement for the respondent to defend or to cross apply for a divorce which should benefit people who were victims of domestic abuse and controlling behaviour from being trapped by their abusive spouses who could delay or contest the petition previously it entirely.

The act also introduces a minimum period of 20 weeks between the start of proceedings and application for final order. This provides couples with a meaningful period of reflection and the chance to reconsider.

A change in divorce law has been long-awaited by many lawyers who consider the current laws to be outdated, and often increased animosity and acrimony in already difficult circumstances. It is unfair that a couple is forced to stay together even if they have tried to make their marriage work but have been unsuccessful.

If you’re getting divorced and have started your application, the applicant will need to be submit by 4pm on 31 March 2022.

Alternatively, you can wait until the new digital service is launched and apply after 6 April 2022.

However, if you are halfway through your divorce, then the process should continue in the normal way until you have your Decree Absolute granted.

Despite the landmark change to English and Welsh divorce law, the law in respect of financial provision on divorce will remain the same.

DJM Solicitors 16 Axis Court, Mallard Way, Swansea SA7 0AJ 01792 650000

Chelston House, 103 Newton Road, Mumbles, Swansea SA3 4BN 01792 304090




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