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The Government's Divorce, Dissolution & Separation Bill will reform the divorce/dissolution process to remove the concept of guilt. The Bill entered parliament on 7 January, being first promised by the Government in April 2018. For divorce and dissolution of civil partnerships, the Bill will do the following:

  • Replace the existing facts with a new requirement to provide a statement of irretrievable breakdown.
  • Remove the possibility of contesting the divorce.
  • Introduce the option for a joint application.
  • Make sure language is in plain English (e.g. Decree Absolute will be called Final Order).

It is hoped that the new process will reduce conflict and enable separating couples to deal more amicably with the other issues that often arise on separation, such as child arrangements or financial settlement. No-fault divorce/dissolution will stop separating couples fighting over blame, as currently the divorce/dissolution system is mainly fault based, requiring one party to allege guilt against the other (e.g. adultery (divorce only), desertion, unreasonable behaviour). Currently, if one party can't establish guilt against the other they need to wait for 2 years of separation. If both agree to the divorce/dissolution, and if one party contests then the period of separation is 5 years.

The new system should encourage a conciliatory approach that will also benefit children of the family who, if exposed to animosity between separating parents, can suffer adversely. Importantly, it will also help victims of domestic abuse who quite understandably often want to petition on a ground that will not place them in further conflict.

If you need advice regarding divorce/dissolution then please contact Fitzhugh Gates Solicitors who have experts in this field ready to assist. We can also offer a fixed fee service for advice..


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If you require specific advice on a particular issue or problem highlighted by this article, then please contact Fitzhugh Gates, the Solicitors for Brighton and Hove and Shoreham-by-Sea. 


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