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‘No-fault’ divorce legislation still “expected to come into force this year”

‘No-fault’ divorce legislation still “expected to come into force this year”

Monday 20 March 2023

‘No-fault’ divorce legislation still “expected to come into force this year”

Monday 20 March 2023


Long-awaited changes to divorce legislation – including the introduction of ‘no-fault’ divorces – are still expected to come into force later this year, according to Policy & Resources.

A public consultation in 2019 led the Committee to propose changes to matrimonial law early in 2022 and they were approved during a States debate in July of the same year.

The most welcome aspect of the incoming legislation is the introduction of a ‘no-fault’ divorce, wherein two people can simply choose a divorce without having to prove the irretrievable breakdown of marriage.  

Currently, several triggers of the divorce need to be proven before it can go through the courts, including; adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, a separation of two years (with consent) or a separation of five (without consent). Additionally, the new legislation removes the ability to contest a divorce. 

Deputy_Peter_Ferbrache_collage_with_the_States_chamber.jpg 

Pictured: Reforms to the Matrimonial Causes Law were approved on 13 July 2022 by the States of Deliberation. 

A public consultation was launched all the way back in 2019 to gather the public’s opinion on current divorce legislation. 77% of those who responded were ‘very supportive’ of removing the ‘no-fault’ clause. 

Despite strong support for modernising the law, changing it was never going to be a quick process and the Projet de Loi (proposed law) was only approved by His Majesty King Charles III in December. P&R said this now “[allows] officers in Guernsey to proceed with the commencement of the legislation”. 

After confirming the proposed changes in April last year, P&R said that the timeframe was always going to be subject to change, especially if other urgent policy matters arose. 

In the most recent statement to Express, P&R said: “Work on the implementation of the legislation is underway and it is still expected to come into force this year.” 

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