When it is was announced in April that the UK divorce laws would be reformed to allow no fault divorces, it was welcomed by many who had long campaigned for them.
However, the suspension of Parliament by Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has meant that the divorce law reforms, via the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill (“the Bill”), may well be lost or at best, temporarily delayed.
This also applies to other new legislation going through the House of Commons, including laws which would provide greater protection for domestic violence victims.
Why does the prorogation of Parliament mean that the divorce law reforms may be lost?
The reason for this is that when a decision is made to prorogue Parliament all existing Bills going through the House of Commons and Lords are automatically dropped.
Before Parliament was suspended, it was possible for the Bill to be carried over to when Parliament resumed through a request but this did not happen. As a result, all previous progress in relation to the Bill has been lost. The Bill had previously passed its second reading in the House of Commons in June and had moved to the Report Stage.
However, the Government could choose to re-introduce the Bill once Parliament returns next month but it would have to be re-considered by MPs from the start.
What are the divorce reforms?
Should the Bill be re-introduced back into Parliament and subsequently be passed, it would mean that a couple going through a divorce or dissolution would simply have to put forward to the Courts that their marriage or civil partnership has broken down and they wouldn’t have to apportion blame on to either person in the relationship.
The Bill would also put an end to a married person’s ability to contest a divorce and a couple would be able to make a joint divorce application.
The aim of the Bill is to reduce the acrimony that can often be associated with separation proceedings, such as one person apportioning blame onto the other and the tension that can develop as a result of this.
Further information regarding the divorce law reforms can be found here.
It remains to be seen if the Bill will be re-introduced back into Parliament once the suspension is over. The legislation was previously put forward by David Gauke, who lost the Conservative whip when he did not support the party’s plans for Brexit, so this may or may not be significant.
How can Nelsons help?
If you are considering separating, it is important to seek legal advice, as many people will listen to friends and family, who have either separated or know someone who has and they will often recite what happened.
However, each separation is different, as it depends on so many different factors. This is why it is important to obtain legal advice from an experienced solicitor, who will try and make the process as easy and painless as possible.
Layla Babadi is an Associate in our Family Law team who specialises in divorce and financial matters. For more information or if you need help with a divorce, please contact Layla or a member of the team in Derby, Leicester or Nottingham on 0800 024 1976 or via our online form.