A bill introducing “no-fault” divorces in England and Wales has been backed by MPs.
It passed its first hurdle in the Commons by 231 votes to 16 against, following a debate.
How to get a divorce
Currently, in order to start divorce proceedings immediately, one spouse has to allege adultery, unreasonable behaviour or desertion has taken place.
Under the proposed law, they will only have to state that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.
The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill – which has been passed by the House of Lords – also removes the possibility of contesting the decision to divorce.
At the moment, someone wishing to obtain a divorce without the consent of their spouse must live apart from them for five years.
Divorce proceedings will still be challengeable on certain grounds including fraud and coercion. Currently fewer than 2% of divorce cases are contested.
The bill also introduces a new option, allowing couples to jointly apply for a divorce, where the decision to separate is a mutual one.
And it replaces the terms “decree nisi” and “decree absolute” with “conditional order” and “final order”. “Petitioners” will also become “applicants”.
Under the proposals, there must be a minimum six-month period between the lodging of a petition to the divorce being made final.
If your marriage has broken down and you require legal advice, please contact our specialist divorce lawyers today by calling 0333 016 3333 or completing the form on this page.