The Divorce Law Reform Act of 1969

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The Divorce Law Reform Act of 1969 was an important piece of family legislation in the United Kingdom. With a high divorce rate, the nations of the UK needed to enact legislation that would satisfy the needs of the public.

Geography and time frame

The Divorce Law Reform Act of 1969 was passed in England before its provisions expanded into Scotland and Northern Ireland. While this act was passed in 1969, it did not take effect until 1971.


This act has two main purposes. The first was to restate the three grounds for divorce that were defined as faults: adultery, cruelty, and desertion. It also added two additional grounds for divorce. These were called "no fault separation grounds" and were based on a couple living apart for a specified number of years.


This act was replaced by the Family Law Act in 1996 in the area of "no fault" divorces for both England and Wales. However, these provisions were later repealed. In 2005, Scotland passed their own Family Law Act, which dramatically reduced the time it takes to get a divorce when a couple are separated.