Family Solicitors In Garstang Discuss The Divorce, Dissolution And Separation Bill
Posted on 3rd April 2020
Whilst perhaps not as quickly as anticipated, thanks to Covid-19, but still within touching distance, is the enactment of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill.
Why is this important?
Amongst other purposes, the Bill will fundamentally change the divorce process and here at MG Legal, your Family Solicitor Garstang, we are happy to see a common-sense approach to this sometimes-difficult process.
The fundamental change is that it will no longer be necessary to prove one of the five “facts”: adultery, behaviour, desertion, two years' separation (if the other spouse consents to the divorce), or five years' separation.
Instead, one party will be able to give a Statement of Irretrievable Breakdown which cannot be contested and will permit the divorce to proceed. A period of six months between petition and divorce will stand.
How does this help?
Quite simply, whilst there can still be issues over finances and access to children, the first stage in the process is no longer a problem. The lack of any need to ‘fight’ for the divorce itself moves the focus onto the issues of finance and access to children, meaning that with divorce inevitable, the outcome is much more important than using those children as pawns in the divorce itself. Currently, if a divorce is to proceed outside the longer-term separations, one party would have to characterise the other as being an adulterer, unreasonable or having deserted them, even if the marriage is consensually ending, simply to fulfil a legal obligation. This then colours one parties character in subsequent discussions and potential Hearings at Court and leaves someone with an unfair advantage.
How could it hinder the process?
The flip side of the coin above is that with no finding of fault in cases where one party has been genuinely terrible and the other positively angelic, is that this may not be so easily reflected in the later part of the proceedings. There is also an argument that some people might have tired of fighting each other by the time the divorce reaches the point of discussing children and finances and so be more amenable to compromise at that point. Money generally being finite, it is also possible that the lack of any ability to contest the divorce leaves people with more resources to pay a solicitor to fight over the children.
A better system?
On balance, MG Legal your Family Solicitor Garstang says probably yes; if one party no longer wishes to be with another, it seems harsh to force them to remain ‘shackled’ for the want of a speedier separation process when the separation is inevitable in the long run. It is undoubtedly the case that many divorces will be much more quickly resolved, freeing up more time in the Family Court for other, pressing issues such as those involving vulnerable children and indeed adults.
When will these Laws come to exist?
Currently, we don’t know, the Bill was due for a second reading in February 2020 but this was postponed and with the Covid-19 lockdown in full force, it appears uncertain when anything will come back to a semblance of normality and when we might clear the backlog in the various political, administrative and legal channels. A cautious guess might be that the Bill could receive Royal Assent some time in 2021.
What to do if you need a Family Solicitor?
Contact MG Legal, your Family Solicitor Garstang and speak to our dedicated Family & Children team. We offer fixed fee divorces and do our very best to offer fixed fees for other related matters. In the event we cannot offer a fixed fee, we will ensue that you are provided with the most accurate estimate possible so that you are fully aware of what may lay ahead. We appreciate the importance of providing as much certainty in such an upheaval in your life and we will ensure you are confident in our actions and advice at every step of the way.
MG Legal – Your Local Solicitors
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