The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 was given Royal Assent on 25th June 2020.
This will change the landscape of how parties in the jurisdiction of England and Wales dissolve marriage breakdown. It is uncertain as to when the Act will come into force but it is anticipated that it will be in the Autumn when parties will be able to divorce under the new Act.
The Act still requires dissolution to be granted on the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. However, the major changes are:
- There is no defence to the divorce or judicial separation.
- That the husband and wife can make a joint application for divorce or judicial separation.
- There is no need to obtain consent from the other party in respect of a sole application for divorce or judicial separation.
- There will be a cooling off period of 20 weeks from the issue of the divorce application before any steps can be taken.
- The first stage of the divorce, previously known as ‘Decree Nisi’ will now be called a ‘conditional order’. The ‘Decree Absolute’ will be re-named ‘final order’. The parties will now be referred to as ‘Applicant’ and ‘Respondent’ on a sole application, or ‘Applicant’ and ‘Applicant’ if there is a joint application.
The intention behind the new Act is to reduce costs, acrimony and to simplify the process but it remains to be seen how successful this will be.