The government announced yesterday that the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 which was expected to come into force in Autumn 2021 will not now come into force until 6 April 2022.
This further delay of around six to eight months will be frustrating for some couples who have been eagerly awaiting the introduction of this long overdue piece of legislation. The Act introduces the biggest reform in divorce law for 50 years, enabling couples to issue divorce proceedings immediately without relying on a fault based petition and without citing the other parties’ adultery or unreasonable behaviour.
The government have stated that the indicative timetable of Autumn 2021 was ambitious and that it is essential that the time is taken to get it right. Following changes to the Family Procedure Rules and supporting Practice Directions, amendments are also required to court forms, the online digital divorce service and information on www.gov.uk. Once the changes are made there will need to be rigorous testing.
Sarah Harding, Family Law Partner, at Hodge Jones & Allen commented: “Although the delay is frustrating, it is patently far better to have a system that has been tested and works seamlessly, as undoubtedly a system that is not fit for purpose once proceedings are issued and underway would cause further frustrations and delay.”
For those couples who cannot wait until April 2022 to seek advice in relation to divorce, they can be reassured that that there are options to proceed with divorce now on an amicable basis. Most family lawyers are members of Resolution who are committed to the amicable and constructive resolution of family disputes. Divorce proceedings will always be dealt with as amicably and as cost effectively as possible. All lawyers in the HJA Family Law team are members of resolution and should you wish to have a confidential chat with a lawyer in the team please contact 0808 252 5231.