Policy paper: Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill

Ministry of Justice - by Jim Larrison via Flickr

Policy paper: Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill

The Bill seeks to give effect to hugely important and long overdue reform that will have real benefits for individuals, parents and children and is a key piece of social domestic policy for the government. It will align the ethos underlying divorce law with the government’s approach elsewhere in family law, which is to encourage a forward-looking non-confrontational approach wherever possible – thereby reducing conflict and its damaging effect on children in particular.

The Bill:

  • replaces the requirement to prove either a conduct or separation ‘fact’ with a requirement to file a statement of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage (couples can opt to make this a joint statement)
  • removes the possibility of contesting the decision to divorce as a statement will be conclusive evidence that the marriage has broken down irretrievably
  • introduces a new minimum period of 20 weeks from the start of proceedings to conditional order stage


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