No Fault Divorce DROPPED by Parliament


17 September 2019

By Farhad Islam

New laws to boost the rights of abuse victims, crack down on animal cruelty and introduce no-fault divorce could be axed after Parliament was suspended until the 14th October.

The 12 bills that were going through at the time of Parliament's suspension included the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill, which would for the first time in history, allow those wishing to divorce, the chance to do so without needing to accuse their spouse of wrongdoing, or wait several years.

David Gauke, who introduced the Bill when he was Justice Secretary, said he hoped Parliament “can return to this asap”.

When Parliament is prorogued, all existing bills making their way through the House of Commons and the House of Lords are dropped, unless the government chooses to carry them over to the next session. It is understood that only three pieces of legislation were carried over, which meant that the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill has failed, as a consequence of the prorogation of Parliament.

Good news?

The bills can be re-introduced after Parliament returns on 14 October (if the government chooses to do so) but all progress made is lost and MPs must start from scratch, and with the UK's exit from the European Union ("Brexit") taking up much of Parliamentary time, it might be some time before we see No-Fault Divorce.

Resolution has spoken in response to the Bill being dropped:

"given the wide support the Bill has so far enjoyed, together with the fact divorcing couples have waited for years for this reform, we are optimistic that measures can be reintroduced quickly in a new Parliament, and Resolution will be making the case in the coming weeks and months that Ministers should do just that".

Despite this disappointing news, our Family Law team are still able to make the divorce process as smooth as possible. All of our family lawyers are members of Resolution, with a wealth of experience in family law and divorce and are happy to assist with any issues.

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This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.