Government commits to 6th April for introduction of Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act

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Ministers have today announced that the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, which will allow married couples to divorce without assigning blame, will come into force on 6th April 2022.

The announcement came in the form of a response to a Parliamentary question.

This date is later than originally indicated, and Resolution understands this is to allow time for the necessary IT changes to be made to HMCTS’s online divorce systems. However, the 6th April is now fixed as a matter of Parliamentary record, rather than the indicative timetable previously being worked toward.

Nigel Shepherd, the former Chair of Resolution who has spearheaded the call for No Fault Divorce over many years, said today: “Whilst any delay is disappointing, we do now have certainty over the introduction of this important reform, and will be able to advise clients accordingly.

“Our members’ experience of using online forms and processes has not been universally positive, and so it is essential that the IT is fit for purpose in order to ensure the new divorce process works the way it is intended. The delay will also allow practitioners to become acquainted with the new rules in good time before the Act comes into force.

“We have met with the Ministry of Justice on a regular basis, including the day of this announcement, and have received assurances that the Government remains fully committed to bringing the Act into force. We will continue to work closely with them as the date for implementation approaches – we will be seeking concrete assurances at every opportunity that this new date will be met, and will keep members informed of progress and new developments.”