A wider, no-fault divorce set-up has been put on the long finger by the British Government. The autumn deadline for implementing the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, which passed almost a year ago, will now be postponed.
A later target of April 2022 is in its place, the Law Society Gazette of England and Wales has reported.
Courts minister Chris Philp said that the change provides for the biggest reform of divorce law in 50 years, and will involve new practice directions and amendments.
‘Amended digital service’
Philp said: “The Ministry of Justice is committed to ensuring that the amended digital service allows for a smooth transition from the existing service, which has reformed the way divorce is administered in the courts and improved the service received by divorcing couples at a traumatic point in their lives.
“Following detailed design work, it is now clear that these amendments, along with the full and rigorous testing of the new system ahead of implementation, will not conclude before the end of the year.”
He described the delay as unfortunate, but said that it was crucial to get the procedural rules right.
The gap before implementation will be used to strengthen family mediation services as a means of resolving arrangements for children, and the division of assets.