No-Fault Divorce UK – What Changes to Expect

No-Fault Divorce UK
 Shakeela Bi
Written by: Jessica Lee Legally reviewed by: Shakeela Bi Updated: In: Family

This week brings about the new long-awaited no-fault divorce UK legislation. No-fault divorce brings changes to an area of law that has not changed since 1973. This article will highlight any changes to divorce proceedings brought about by the new legislation.

What’s the Difference Between Fault and No-Fault Divorce UK?

The previous divorce law was suspect to criticism as it required a level of blame between parties to prove the irretrievable breakdown of their relationship. With the previous divorce law, if a couple wished to divorce amicably, the couple would need to live apart for two years before they could present a divorce petition to the court,

One of the aims of the new no-fault divorce legislation is to remove blame from the divorce process.

Like with the previous law, with no-fault divorce, the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage will remain the overall ground for divorce. However, the new bill will remove the requirement to establish one or more facts to prove an irretrievable breakdown.

Additionally, the legislation will make other changes to the divorce process, which include:

  • A 20-week timescale between the issue of the petition and the first stage of the divorce (the conditional order) to provide a period of reflection, and a 6-week timescale from the conditional order to the final order. In total, there will be a minimum of six months from the date the petition is issued to the final order.
  • The application for divorce can be withdrawn at any time.
  • Complex legal jargon is to be replaced, making the divorce process easier to understand.
  • The ability to contest a divorce, dissolution, or separation to be removed. It is worth noting that there will still be some legal grounds for challenging the divorce if needed.
  • There’ll be a choice between initiating the application for divorce jointly or on a sole application basis.

Read More About our No-Fault Divorce Solicitors here.

When Does No-Fault Divorce Begin in the UK?

The new legislation comes into action on the 6th of April 2022.

Will No-Fault Divorce Change the Time it Takes for a Divorce?

No-fault divorce will significantly reduce the time you previously had to wait before the divorce process could start. Previously, to submit a claim without blame the couple would have to wait two years to prove the relationship had irretrievably broken down before the divorce process could begin.

The new Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill removes the requirement of one or more of the following facts to prove the irretrievable breakdown of the relationship:

  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Adultery (not available for civil partnership dissolution)
  • Desertion for at least 2 years
  • Separation for at least 2 years with the consent of both parties
  • Separation for at least 5 years even if one party disagrees

Instead, if both parties agree they will now be able to make a joint application for divorce. Applicants can still submit a sole application if their partner does not agree.

What’s the New Timeline for No-Fault Divorce?  

Firstly, no-fault divorce UK introduces a new 20-week period from the start of proceedings to when the court can make a ‘Conditional Order’.

“A conditional order is a document that says the court does not see any reason why you cannot end the civil partnership. It is the first of 2 stages to getting the civil partnership dissolved -­ the second stage is getting a final order.”Gov.UK

You will still need to reach an agreement with your partner for a divorce settlement. A 20-week period provides the necessary time to decide how to divide your assets and savings. Additionally, both parties will need to come to an amicable agreement regarding child custody. These difficult decisions require some time to manage correctly.

Secondly, there will be a six-week period between the ‘Conditional Order’ and ‘Final Order.’

A ‘Final Order’ is a legal document which you need to confirm the marriage has officially come to an end. Once you receive your ‘Final Order’ you are free to marry again if you so wish.

It’s important to keep your ‘Final Order’ certificate in a secure place. This is because you use your ‘Final Order’ to prove your marital status. We advise that you keep a record of your court number. Therefore, if you misplace your ‘Final Order’ you can apply to the court for another

How Can AWH Solicitors Help You?

How can our specialised no-fault divorce UK lawyers help you?

A divorce can be difficult to navigate. Therefore we want to make the process easier and straightforward for you, with the help of our expert family law solicitors.

In most cases, court proceedings are not as long as we handle negotiations with care and understanding. Our family law solicitors can help individuals during each step of the divorce process, whilst focussing on getting the best result for their client.

Our dedicated family law solicitors in Manchester and Blackburn have helped many clients through their divorce and separation proceedings, including financial settlement hearings and children disputes. We have a long history of finding compromises that work for everyone.

Contact us today for expert help and advice.

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