Two key family law bills have been dissolved with parliament ahead of the upcoming General Election, namely: 1) the long-awaited Domestic Abuse Bill and 2) the Divorce Bill, each bill will need to be reintroduced with the next Parliament if they are to progress.
The Domestic Abuse Bill (if re-introduced) will for the first time provide a statutory definition of domestic abuse to include non-physical and economic abuse. It also seeks to provide greater protection for victims including the introduction of domestic abuse orders (which will place restrictions on the actions of offenders), prohibits automatic cross-examination by abusers in family proceedings and provides special measures to protect victims giving evidence in criminal proceedings. Reform of Domestic abuse legislation has already suffered several setbacks (The 2017 Prison and Court Bill, which sought to redress some of these issues, was dropped by Theresa May before the 2017 General Election). Despite pleas from campaigners, the government has yet to provide any assurance that this bill will be delivered within the next parliamentary session.
The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill seeks to introduce a no-fault divorce regime, which will dispense with the requirement to provide evidence around behaviour or separation, introduce minimum time frames for divorce and removes the ability to contest a divorce.
Please follow this link for a detailed look at our firm’s commentary on this bill.