The Ministry of Justice has suggested that it will reform all legal requirements for divorce in the coming months as research suggests that the current process is far too complicated for litigants in person.
At present, the steps required to become divorced in the United Kingdom and Wales are much greater than anywhere else in the world. In other jurisdictions, the process by which a person becomes divorce can typically only consist of a few simple steps.
For example, interlocutory decrees in California have been removed since the early 80’s because of the fact that litigants in person did not realise that to finalise the decree they must apply for a final decree.
In the United Kingdom, there are three crucial stages at which the petitioner must again affirm their intention to divorce; application for divorce, application for decree nisi and application for decree absolute.
Perhaps one of the most noticeable differences between the United Kingdoms divorce procedure and that of Spain, for example, is that where there is no divorce ground, no proof is required. This is due to the fact that in Spain there is an entitlement to divorce should one, or both, wish to divorce, or, following a separation period.
Germany follow a similar principle whereby marital breakdown exists if the couple have either: –
- Lived separately for 1 year and agree to a divorce or
- Lived separately for 3 years.
The report has noted that perhaps the process that the United Kingdom has chosen to operate forces the parties into collusion by making them less confident that the divorce will be finalised without having to repeatedly confirm their entitlement to divorce.
The final bid by the Ministry is to reduce the number of steps required to finalise divorce in the United Kingdom from three steps to two steps. The aim is to make it easier for litigants in person to finalise their divorce without worrying over applying for both a decree nisi and decree absolute. The hope is that this will also lessen the burden that the courts have in dealing with the three-part process administratively.
If you would like advice on the divorce process or would like to instruct one of our solicitors to guide you through the process, please do not hesitate to contact us.
All information is correct on the date of posting.