No Fault Divorce

On the 6th April 2022 a major change to the procedure for obtaining a divorce is coming in.

For some time, the Government has talked about divorcing couples not having to prove blame for the breakdown of their marriage and on the above date that is what is being introduced.

Until now, to obtain a divorce, married couples have had to show their marriage has broken down for one of five reasons, for example adultery/unreasonable behaviour/separation. Under the new law there is to be no blame or fault. The only reason that needs to be given is the marriage has broken down and that is it.

Furthermore it enables not just one of the couple to apply but both of them jointly if they wish to do so.

The advantage to this new procedure is it means the Respondent to the divorce cannot defend it save in very limited circumstances. Bearing that in mind however the Government has introduced a 20 week gap between the divorce being issued and obtaining what is currently called the Decree Nisi. This is to allow for a period of reflection.

Currently not all of the rules and guidance has been produced so information as to how it will work is still uncertain.

It is however clear that the intention behind this is to try and take out some of the acrimony/heat that can arise with starting a divorce in the hope it will then help in sorting out any financial and/or children issues.

Obviously there are advantages and disadvantages to starting a divorce under the current procedure or waiting until the new law is introduced. We can provide further guidance on this but it is important you are aware that if you wish to try and apply for a divorce under the current law that divorce application has to be sent into the court by the 31st March 2022 at the latest and ideally before this date if possible to be on the safe side.

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