Parliamentary briefing: Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill - House of Commons committee stage

This briefing outlines our views on the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill ahead of committee stage in the House of Commons on 17 June.

The bill, which had its first reading in the House of Commons on 25 March and its second reading on 8 June, introduces a system of no-fault divorce.

The bill will:

  • replace the requirement to provide evidence of conduct or separation with a new requirement to provide a statement of irretrievable breakdown followed by an overall period of notice of 26 weeks
  • remove the possibility of contesting the divorce as the statement of irretrievable breakdown will be taken as determinative of such
  • introduce the option for a joint application
  • update the language used to ensure it is fit for the modern age; for example, decree nisi to conditional order and decree nisi to final order

Our position

We welcome and support the government's introduction of 'no fault' divorce in this bill. We're also supportive of joint petitions and the principle of divorce based on the statement of irretrievable breakdown of marriage coupled with the 26-week notice period.

Key recommendations

Our briefing outlines several clarifications that could be made to strengthen the bill and make sure that it is clear, fair and accessible.

In relation to the Bill we have one key area for improvement, that the 26-week period of notice should begin from the date of service, for example when the respondent has formal receipt of notice or can be taken to have receipt of notice.

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