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Family Law

No-Fault Divorce – The Basics

No fault divorce

Monday, March 14, 2022

In less than a month the biggest shake up to divorce laws, for over half a century, shall come into force. The change aims to reduce conflict between a divorcing couple.

What is the current Divorce Law ?

Currently a divorce will be granted if a parting couple wait for 2 years and only if they both consent to the divorce. If one person does not consent then a person must wait for 5 years.

A marriage can be ended earlier but only if one person blames the other person for the breakdown of the marriage, known as a fault divorce. In a fault divorce it is necessary to prove a person has behaved unreasonably or has committed adultery.

What is a No-Fault Divorce?

The new no fault divorce will simplify the divorce process. The main changes are as follows;

  • Fault is removed entirely and a couple can divorce without attributing blame.
  • The option of contesting a divorce is removed.
  • One party can apply for the divorce or a joint application can be made.
  • There will be a period of reflection – a minimum of 20 weeks. This is to allow the parties a time to reflect and consider their decision.
  • Terminology will be updated – Petition becomes Application, Petitioner becomes Applicant, Decree Nisi becomes a Conditional Order and Decree Absolute becomes a Final Order

How long will a No-Fault Divorce take ?

Step 1
A single or joint application for a divorce order is made with a statement that the marriage has broken down – no proof required.

Step 2
Court must accept the Order and make a DIVORCE ORDER

Step 3
Cooling off period, minimum 20 weeks, to allow for period of reflection and time to resolve financial and child arrangements.

Step 4
Apply for the CONDITIONAL ORDER

Step 5
After 6 weeks, apply for the FINAL ORDER, which formally ends the marriage.

In total a no-fault divorce will take around 6 months.

If you are considering a divorce in the coming months and require advice on the new “no fault” divorce please contact me in the strictest of confidence at sarahward@samuelphillips.co.uk

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