Wednesday 6th April 2022 was a landmark day for divorce law. It was the date when, finally, no fault divorce became law, much to the relief of couples and families across England and Wales. The legislation was the biggest shake-up of divorce law for 50 years.
Of course, up until the now, a person has had to prove an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage through either:
- Unreasonable behavior
- Desertion by one party
- 2 years separation with the consent of the other party
- 5 years separation without the consent of the other party
Significantly, it also forced one person in the marriage to start proceedings (you then became ‘the petitioner’) and the other person to defend their position as ‘the respondent’. So right away the law pitted you against each other whether you wanted to be or not. Further, it was up to the court to decide whether your marriage had broken down irretrievably, not the couple.
What is changing?
Under the new no fault (or ‘no blame’ as many commentators are saying) approach, couples will be able to make a joint application for divorce and they decide whether their marriage is over. Or one party is still able to initiate proceedings and go through a simpler process which removes the need to blame the other party. Either way, the court is then asked to decide whether ‘conclusive evidence’ has been presented to show the marriage has broken down irretrievably and grant a divorce on that basis.
How long will a no fault divorce take?
There is a new minimum time period from submitting the application to the court granting a conditional order (the old Decree Nisi) which is 20 weeks. The thinking here is that it gives both parties enough time to put in place necessary arrangements in preparation for their divorce.
From there a further 6 weeks is added before a final order is granted (the old Decree Absolute) which ends the marriage or civil partnership.
What’s our opinion on the new no fault divorce law?
Michelle Grove, Partner and Head of Family Law, explains: “The old approach brought blame into play which is not constructive at such a highly emotional time. In many cases couples just wanted to focus on an amicable solution to move on with their lives and not be forced by the old statute to wait a long time to achieve that, so the new no fault divorce law is a sensible and very welcome change for the better.”
If you need to speak with a divorce solicitor then call GA Solicitors on 01752 203500 or fill in the contact form. Alternatively, email enquiries@GAsolicitors.com. We are here to help, whenever you need us.