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Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill 2017-19: Committee Stage Report

Published Wednesday, July 10, 2019

This Commons Library briefing paper provides background information for Commons Report stage of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill 2017-19

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The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill (the Bill) was introduced in the House of Commons on 13 June 2019 as Bill 404 of 2017-19. Information about the Bill is provided on the Bill page on the Parliament website.

In short, the Bill would:

  • replace the requirement to provide evidence of conduct or separation facts with a new requirement to provide a statement of irretrievable breakdown;
  • remove the possibility of contesting the decision to divorce, as the statement of irretrievable breakdown would be taken as conclusive evidence that the marriage has broken down irretrievably;
  • introduce a new option of a joint application;
  • introduce a minimum overall timeframe of six months into the divorce process;
  • enable the Lord Chancellor, by order, to adjust the time periods;
  • update terminology.

The law relating to judicial separation, and to dissolution of civil partnership and separation of civil partners, would be amended in a similar way.

A Commons Library briefing paper, published for Second Reading of the Bill in the Commons, provides background information.

Second Reading of the Bill took place on 25 June 2019. The Bill is supported by Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

The Bill was considered by a Public Bill Committee in two sittings on 2 July 2019. At its first sitting the Committee heard evidence from witnesses. The Public Bill Committee also received written submissions which are available on the Bill page on the Parliament website.

At its second sitting on 2 July 2019, the Public Bill Committee conducted a line-by-line consideration of the Bill. No amendments had been tabled. The Bill was scrutinised by way of clause stand part debates. All clauses were ordered to stand part of the Bill without any division. The Bill was reported without amendment.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-8618

Author: Catherine Fairbairn

Topics: Civil partnerships, Divorce, Family law

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