New Divorce Legislation 2022 - No Fault Divorce
No Fault Divorce came into practice in April 2022, and the new process is now the only way that couples can get divorced in the future.
The old system required the applying spouse, known as the Petitioner, to either assign blame by way of unreasonable behaviour, allege and prove adultery. If the Petitioner wants to avoid blame, they have to wait at least 2 years. This can be difficult for those who want to move on with their lives after separation.
What has changed?
The new system no longer require lengthy periods of separation, and there is no longer to be a person at fault for causing the marriage to irretrievably breakdown. There is still three stages to the process, but their names have changed. Parties now have a Petition, a Conditional Order of Divorce (previously Decree Nisi) and a Final Order of Divorce (previously Decree Absolute). This new terminology is already used for the dissolution of Civil Partnerships. Parties now also have a time limit on how quickly they can proceed, with there being a minimum requirement of 20 weeks from Application to Final Order. This is a “period of reflection” to ensure couples want to bring their marriage to an end.
Whilst some may feel disappointed that the lack of blame removes the chance for them to hold their spouse to task, the overriding opinion is that this change will avoid unnecessary acrimony and enable parties to move through a difficult process easier.