The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020  will come into force on 6 April 2022 allowing couples to divorce without having to demonstrate a ground for divorce. The new Act also applies to civil partnership dissolution.

The most significant reform to divorce law for 50 years, the new Act brings in substantial changes for divorcing couples.  From April couples wishing to divorce will not have to cite grounds, such as desertion or adultery, which, in turn, obviously removes the need for supporting evidence of the alleged ground.  It is hoped that no-fault divorce will result in the reduction of acrimonious partings created when the unreasonable behaviour that caused the fracture of the marriage was aired in public.  The new Act also applies to civil partnership dissolution.

Daniel Theron, a partner, commented "the Act brings divorce law into the modern era reforming not only the law but the language used through the process has also been updated, bringing complete clarity to the process.  Whilst there will still be two steps to the procedure, once a Divorce Order has been applied for the first stage is now a Conditional Order, replacing Decree Nisi and the final stage is now the Final Order replacing the Decree Absolute.  The no-fault divorce is generally regarded as a welcome advance that will considerably reduce the discord between the two parties at the end of their marriage

The couple can present a joint application or just one person can do so stating that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.  Such a statement is accepted as conclusive evidence of the permanent breakdown of the marriage.  A no-fault divorce generally cannot be contested except for three reasons, a) where the question of jurisdiction arises – whether the court has jurisdiction to hear the proceeding,  b) where the validity of the marriage or civil partnership is questioned,  c) in the case of fraud and irregularities in procedural compliance.  There will be a minimum period of 20 weeks from the application for a Divorce Order to the granting of a Conditional Order.  The lengthy time period between the Divorce Order and Conditional Order offers the couple a chance to reconsider the situation before taking an irrevocable step and ensures that the decision to divorce is not impulsive and there is a genuine intention to end the marriage or civil partnership.

There will be no change to the way the financial issues surrounding divorce will be dealt with, nor will the issues relating to any children of the marriage be managed any differently than at present.   Giambrone & Partners' family law team strongly recommends that these extremely important associated issues are decided with the guidance and advice of a family lawyer.  The court's expectation is that a couple can achieve a reasonable agreement between themselves, particularly with regard to the access of the absent parent to a child or children of the marriage and as well as the child's domicile.  Divorcing parents must keep the child's best interests at the forefront of their decisions on these arrangements and make every effort to minimise the disruption to the child or children.

Giambrone & Partners' highly experienced family law team has a reputation for guiding and advising our clients sensitively with practical legal advice resulting in the best possible outcome in difficult circumstances.

Daniel Theron has a degree and post-graduate degree in law from University of Pretoria and QLTT transfer One World College and BPP in London. He advises clients in family law, employment, cross-border debt recovery and defamation.  Daniel has extensive expertise in contentious cross-border family law and complex financial arrangements.

Daniel is meticulous in his analysis of the merits of a matter and tenacious in his pursuit of a successful outcome for clients.  He has an excellent level of achievement, in excess of his clients' expectations.

Daniel speaks English and Afrikaans

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