Divorce Bill

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill is currently going through parliament. This is the third time that the Bill has been introduced by the Government in the last eight months. The two previous Bills were lost due to the prorogation, and then dissolution, of parliament. The current Bill is identical to the one originally introduced in the Commons in June 2019. That bill enjoyed cross-party support at Second Reading and in Committee Stage. The only difference is that the current Bill was introduced in the Lords, rather than the Commons. It will still need to pass through both Houses.

Check progress as the current Bill proceeds through Parliament here.

The Bill, if enacted, will:

  • Retain ‘irretrievable breakdown’ as the sole ground for divorce and civil partnership dissolution
  • Change how irretrievable breakdown is proven. A statement of irretrievable breakdown will replace the current five ‘facts’ of adultery, (unreasonable) behaviour, desertion, two year’s separation with consent or five year’s separation
  • Introduce a minimum overall waiting period of six months
  • Enable joint as well as sole applications
  • Remove the ability to contest the divorce or dissolution, other than for fraud, lack of jurisdiction or other procedural irregularities
  • Update the terminology, e.g. conditional order rather than decree nisi

 The Bill was preceded by a Ministry of Justice Consultation document and ResponseFor background reading on the Bill (and the need for reform) see: