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Everything you need to know about No Fault Divorce

View profile for Andrew Stynes
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Everything you need to know about No Fault Divorce

Following decades of campaigning, the Divorce Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 has brought an end to “fault based” divorce.

On April 6th 2022 ‘No Fault Divorce’ officially became law.

In this article, experienced Family Solicitor & Partner Andy Stynes details everything that you need to know about No Fault Divorce...

What is no fault divorce?

No fault divorce is a divorce which, unlike ‘fault based’ divorce, doesn’t require evidence of wrongdoing by either party.

Fault based divorce (which came to an end in April) required one party to provide evidence of conduct or separation facts against the other. 

This is no longer a requirement going forward, thanks to the introduction of no fault divorce.

How does no fault divorce work?

One party, or both parties jointly, can provide a statement that the marriage has ‘irretrievably broken down’.

There is no need to make allegations or detail conduct.

The Divorce Application (previously the petition) is based on this statement alone.

Learn more about joint applications here.

How long do you need to be separated for a no fault divorce?

There is no specified period of separation for no-fault divorce. You could still be in the same house!

Do both parties have to agree to a no fault divorce?

No. For a no-fault divorce, you do not need the other party’s consent.

Why is no fault divorce better?

This is a question that is asked a lot online. People want to know what the benefits to no fault divorce are.

Generally, no fault divorce should be easier for both parties as there is no blame and therefore proceedings should be non-confrontational.

No fault divorces are likely to be much less traumatic for this reason.

Can a no fault divorce be contested?

Crucially, under the new process, there is no ability for the other Party to defend the Divorce. 

One of the key reasons for this change is that the ability to defend a Divorce allowed domestic abusers to exercise further coercive control over their victim. 

Following these changes, the Divorce can only be disputed on Jurisdictional grounds, on the validity of the Marriage or civil partnership or fraud and/or procedural compliance.

Read more about the process and timings involved in no-fault divorce here.

What further changes has no fault divorce brought in?

There is a statutory delay between the date of issue of the Application and the application for a Conditional Order (this was formerly referred to as the Decree Nisi). 

This delay is a deliberate policy to allow a meaningful period for reflection and the chance for both parties to:

  • Turn back if they wish to do so, or
  • Make arrangements for the future for the benefit of their children if any and for financial issues (when divorce is inevitable)

Learn more about the terminology changes in the new law here.

When did fault based divorce end?

Although the new Divorce procedure was introduced as of the 6 April 2022, the Courts stopped issuing Divorce Petitions under the old procedure at the end of March.

What if I already have a fault based divorce in progress?

It is worth noting that if you have already issued Divorce proceedings that these will not be affected.  They will continue in the usual way and the law change is only applicable to applications made subsequent to the 6 April 2022.

Can I still get a fault based divorce?

No.

Parties who wished to proceed under the old law had to apply no later than 4.00pm on 31 March 2022 on paper or digitally.

Many people were, understandably, waiting for no fault divorce to become law before making a divorce application.

For advice on a fault based divorce, get in touch here.

No Fault Divorce Solicitors

If you would like legal advice on no fault divorce, you should get in touch with our bright team.

We offer a free initial chat for all new clients.

Simply call us on 01202 499255 or fill out the form at the top of this page to speak to one of our friendly family solicitors.

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