May 3

New no fault divorce law – What does it mean for you?

From 6 April 2022, the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 came into force,
making the biggest change in divorce law in England and Wales for over 50 years, ending
the “blame game” to allow couples to divorce amicably.

Changes to divorce Law

Divorces will now be based on only one ground – the irretrievable breakdown of the
marriage. There is no longer a necessity to prove a fact for this breakdown. Previously, a
divorce petition would require a reason for the breakdown of the marriage, ranging from
adultery to five years’ separation. This has been removed completely and allows couples to
divorce without placing blame on either party. The breakdown of a relationship can be one
of the most emotional, stressful and challenging changes that a person can face. The new
divorce law will help remove and reduce these and will allow families to move on with their
lives and encourages other issues such as matrimonial finances and children matters to be
settled in a similar amicable way.

Divorce applications can continue to be made online, but the new law will remove the ability
of the respondent to defend the divorce, reducing delays. The application can be made as a
joint application by both parties or by a sole application. There is no right or wrong way of
applying, it only depends on the couple and their relationship.

The applicant will then wait 20 weeks from when the divorce application is served on the
respondent to be able to apply for a conditional order. This cooling off period allows for
reflection and for couples to work to resolve financial matters arising from the divorce, before
applying for the divorce final order once six weeks have elapsed from the date of the
conditional order.

There are concerns that this will lead to an increase in the amount of divorce applications
being submitted, but the new process will allow for couples, who decide to end their
marriage or civil partnership, to do so in a calm and relatively conflict-free way.

If you would like advice or assistance with your separation, divorce, and civil partnership,
please do contact us. Our friendly team offer a FREE initial telephone consultation and a
FIXED FEE with no hidden extras for your divorce application.