As many are aware, in order to begin divorce proceedings immediately, one spouse must allege that the other has committed adultery, or behaved in such a way that it is no longer reasonable for him or her to continue to live with the other. There are also grounds based on being separated for 2 or 5 years, or the spouse having deserted their husband or wife for at least 2 years and their whereabouts be unknown. After almost 50 years this is, however, finally set to change.
A bill introducing no-fault divorces in England and Wales has passed through the house of commons by 231 votes to 16 against.
The new bill, which will now be submitted for Royal Assent, will allow divorces to be actionable by a statement that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. Under this new bill, couples will be able to apply for a divorce together, representing a mutual decision to divorce.
Furthermore, keywording around divorce is to be changed under the new bill, with “decree nisi” becoming “conditional order” and “decree absolute” being known as the “final order”. “Petitioners” will also become “Applicants”. These changes reflect the current position for civil partners who decide to dissolve their civil partnerships.
Under the bill proposals, there must be a minimum six-month period between the lodging of the petition to the final order made final.
This new bill is set to reduce the trauma that many may experience when filing for divorce, modernising the system and allowing a reduction in tension.