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The end of the 'blame game'

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The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill received its first reading on 13 June.  It will receive its second reading on a date to be announced.

The Bill will establish 'no fault' divorce, which is something that campaigners have lobbied Parliament for over many years.

It will:

Replace the current requirement to evidence on a divorce petition either a conduct or separation 'fact' with the provision of a statement of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Couples will be able to make a joint statement if they choose to do so.

Remove the possibility of contesting the decision to divorce.  The statement will be conclusive evidence that the marriage has broken down.

Introduce a new minimum period of 20 weeks from the start of proceedings to Decree Nisi, to allow time for reflection, but where couples cannot reconcile and divorce is inevitable, time for agreeing practical arrangements for the future.

Head of Family Law at Chattertons, Liz Graham, said:

"This is a big step forward. Marriage will always be a vitally important institution in society, but for many clients, issuing a divorce petition which centres around blame is not helpful, particularly where there are children of the marriage.  Family lawyers at Chattertons are members of Resolution, which aims to ensure that divorce is handled in a way that promotes an amicable and non-confrontational approach.  The removal of unnecessary mud-slinging will, we hope, allow us to fulfil our commitment to this positive approach.”

It is to be hoped that MPs and members of the House of Lords pass this Bill without unnecessary delay.

Liz Graham covers work at Chattertons’ Grantham and Stamford offices.  Telephone 01476 591550 to contact her.

For further information about family law matters, including divorce and separation, and resulting financial arrangements, and also matters concerning arrangements for children on separation or divorce, please contact Chattertons and ask to speak to a family lawyer.  Details of all office contact numbers are available at www.chattertons.com.

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