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Is the divorce process too complicated for Litigants in Person? 27/03/2019

The Ministry of Justice says it will announce how it intends to improve the legal requirements for divorce 'very soon' as research highlights the challenges for litigants in person in England and Wales where the number of steps that must be taken to get divorced is greater than elsewhere. With a rise in litigants in person applying for divorce, is the divorce process unnecessarily complicated?

The procedure in some other jurisdictions is seen as much easier with one or two steps leading to the divorce. In England and Wales, the Petitioner must confirm their request to divorce on several occasions throughout the divorce process. For example, decrees in Australia and New Zealand become final after one month. Orders made by judges in New Zealand at an undefended hearing come into effect immediately.

The Ministry will consider reducing the number of steps from three to two which would help litigants in person and reduce administrative time on the Family Court. This would however need to be "weighed up" with the possibility that this easier approach could increase a party's decision to divorce lightly if the need to allege fault is removed from the process.

Lord Chancellor David Gauke says he wants to scrap 'archaic requirements' to allege fault as part of wider reform. The ministry's consultation closed in December. A spokesperson said the response 'will be coming very soon'.

For further information and advice on this issue, and other family law issues, please contact us for a free initial consultation on 01992 306 616 or 0207 956 2740 or email us.

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