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No-fault divorce is here

From 6th April 2022, the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 will come into force and it will no longer be possible to blame the other party for the breakdown of the marriage.

Either party can apply alone simply stating that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and that will be sufficient to obtain a divorce. Alternatively, for the first time the law provides that the parties can apply jointly for divorce; reflecting the reality that in many divorces both parties accept the marriage has reached an end.

It will no longer be possible to mount a defence to a divorce petition. Divorce will be inevitable, and the new process should leave the parties free to focus upon the key issues and bring the blame-game culture to an end.
No-fault divorce will reduce conflict, allowing couples to focus on important issues like child arrangements, property and finances. However, divorce will always be an emotionally difficult journey, despite the welcome 6th April law change which removes fault from the process. Family Mediation South East is here to help you with child and/or financial arrangements. Please contact us on 01273 694 661 or email us at: Admin@fmse.co.uk.

From 6 April, the new legislation will:

• replace the 'five facts' with a new requirement to provide a statement of irretrievable breakdown
• remove the possibility of contesting the divorce
• introduce an option for a joint application
• make sure language is in plain English, for example, changing 'decree nisi' to conditional order and 'decree absolute' to final order
• These changes will also apply to the dissolution of civil partnerships
.

What is a 'no-fault divorce'?

To get divorced in England & Wales, you must:
• Be married for at least a year
• Have an address for the other party so the court can send them the divorce papers
• An original/ certified copy of your marriage certificate, in English
• £593 to pay the court admin fee. You can also check if you / other party is entitled to a discount on the court fees here

From 6th April, 2022, No-fault divorce will end the 'blame-game', meaning that couples will no longer need to blame one another to prove the breakdown of their marriage. Separating couples will be able to file for divorce together, rather than just one person

What do the new 'no-fault divorce' laws mean for the UK?

• The new laws will end the necessity for couples to blame each other or be separated for long periods of time.
• 'No-fault divorce' will become the sole reason for divorce and will replace the five options currently listed on the legal documents (adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, two years separation and five years separation)
• You will be able to give notice of your intention to divorce or end your civil partnership as an individual (like now) or as a couple.
• There will no longer be an option to contest the divorce. If one of you considers it is over – it is.
• There will still be two stages after giving notice, currently called decree nisi and decree absolute. Now to be called conditional order and final order
• For divorce and dissolution proceedings, there is a new 20-week period between the start of the proceedings (when the court issues the application) and when the applicant(s) may apply for a conditional order.
• This will allow for a period of reflection and allow couples to resolve other issues such as child or financial arrangements. It may be possible to make these arrangements in mediation rather than involve the court.

• The government is introducing a new minimum period of 20-weeks between the start of proceedings and applying for a conditional order of divorce. Together with the existing minimum six-week period between conditional order and final order of divorce this will mean that divorce for most people will in future take a minimum of 26-weeks or six months, with additional time for the conditional order application to be considered and pronounced. If the couple need more time to complete their divorce, then the law will allow for this. 

No-Fault Divorce and Family Justice in the UK
Enforcing Financial Orders