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Domestic Abuse and Divorce Legislation to fall due to General Election

Parliament was dissolved on 6th November in advance of the General Election on 12th December 2019 causing essential reform bills to fall.

Once parliament has been dissolved, all Bills that have failed to achieve royal assent by the 6th November will fall. These Bills will then have to be reintroduced under the next parliament.

Consequently, this has caused two vitally important Bills, the Domestic Abuse Bill and the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill, to fall.

The Domestic Abuse Bill would have created a legal definition of domestic abuse and would put an end to the cross-examination of victims by their abusers in the family courts. It also sought to establish further protection for victims in the form of protection notices and orders. The Bill would also criminalise the financial control and manipulation of a person as well and non-physical abuse.

The Bill has now been dropped two times in two months due to the recent political disruption.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill would mean that couples going through a divorce or dissolution would not have to apportion blame to each other. Instead, they could simply state to the Courts that their marriage or civil partnership has broken down, often coined as the ‘no fault divorce’. The Bill would also mean that a couple could make a joint divorce application, ending a married person’s ability to contest a divorce.

Both the Labour and Conservative parties have made assurances that they are committed to reintroducing the legislation if they come into power. However, this does mean further delays for the Bills which were steadily progressing. Any developments will not be seen until after the 12th December 2019.

It is unfortunate to see these delays to such important legislation.

This article is not a substitute for legal advice on specific facts and circumstances. It is designed as a free update on the law at the time of publishing. Knight Polson Limited trading as QualitySolicitors Knight Polson accepts no responsibility for reliance on this article and recommends that you seek independent legal advice on your specific circumstances prior to taking any steps.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the contents of the above article, please do not hesitate to contact us on knightpolson@qualitysolicitors.com or 023 8064 4822.

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