Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill: Lords third reading

25 March 2020

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill had its third reading, a final chance to make changes to the draft law in the Lords, on Tuesday 24 March.

No changes to the substance of  the bill had been suggested ahead of third reading.

Following completion of third reading, the bill now passes to the Commons for consideration of Lords amendments.

Lords report stage: Tuesday 17 March

Members discussed a range of topics, including:

  • differing processes for divorce applications made by one or two parties to the marriage
  • provision of information to parents applying for divorce on the impact on a child's wellbeing
  • access to services on relationship support, mediation and domestic support.

Lords committee stage: Tuesday 3 March

Members discussed subjects including:

  • the duty of courts to consider the wellbeing of children in a family before granting a divorce
  • access to relationship support and mediation for married couples considering a divorce
  • the right of an individual in a marriage to put on record their wish not to have a divorce.

Lords second reading: Wednesday 5 February

Members discussed a range of issues highlighted by the bill, including:

  • the proposed minimum 26 week period for divorce proceedings
  • the impact of parental divorce on the mental health of children and young people
  • the question of necessity for a legal distinction between opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

Baroness Hunt of Bethnal Green (Crossbench), former chief executive of Stonewall, made her maiden speech.

Lord Keen of Elie (Conservative), spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice, opened the debate on the bill and responded on behalf of the government.

Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill summary

This bill aims to:

  • revise the legal process in England and Wales so that married couples may obtain a divorce or judicial separation
  • allow civil partners to dissolve their civil partnership or obtain a separation.

 Further information

Image: Rene Asmussen from Pexels

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