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No Fault Divorce

New Divorce Legislation for 2022

With the new year comes the promise of new legislation for those that want to get divorced without blaming their spouse. The Government have confirmed that No Fault Divorce will be coming into practice in April 2022, and the new process will be the only way that couples can get divorced in the future.

The current system requires 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's changing?

The new system will no longer require lengthy periods of separation, and there will no longer be a person at fault for causing the marriage to irretrievably breakdown. There will still be three stages to the process, but their names will change. Parties will 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 will 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.

Should you wait until April to start proceedings?

We are pro-actively preparing our firm for this change in divorce law to ensure that we can support all of our clients straight away.

Some clients wish to delay their divorce until April, and for these clients we helping with reaching financial agreements in the meantime through Separation Agreements or Consent Orders waiting to be lodged with the Court.

We are able to advise any clients who are unsure of whether to start proceedings now or wait until April, and explore the options with you if you are unsure which path to take. We are also preparing a notice for clients when No Fault Divorce comes through, to provide them with the next steps to progress their divorce.

If you would like to be contacted when No Fault Divorce is available, please register by submitting the form on this page.