The introduction of ‘no-fault’ divorce: What are the changes that has been made in the Divorce Law on 6th of April?

Following public consultation, the new legislation that has been introduced expands the grounds for divorce under the UK’s divorce laws. Adultery, desertion, and unreasonable behaviour will not be required as grounds for divorce under the new law.

Couples can make a joint application for divorce

As a result of the first change, divorce proceedings do not have to be initiated by solely one party. Instead, a couple can make a joint application. Even though that may seem like a minor change, supporters of the new law contend that it eliminates an inherent imbalance that frustrates attempts at amicable separation.

Minimum of 20 weeks cooling off period

It is a legal requirement to allow a minimum of 20 weeks between an initial application and the issuance of a conditional order, and another six weeks between the issuance of the final order. It would take at least six months for even the smoothest divorce to be completed, as opposed to the old process where the process length used to be 3-4 months.

Divorce can be granted without blame

An additional way of proving the breakdown of a marriage has been added to the current list of five. The new ground simply requires a legal declaration from one of the spouses stating the marriage has irretrievably broken down. This declaration stands as conclusive evidence and can’t be challenged.

Removal of the ability to contest a divorce

To obtain a divorce under the previous law, a person needed to cite their spouse’s behaviour or cite a period of separation as the reason for divorce. This may be contested by their spouse, thereby preventing a divorce. However, the ability to contest a divorce has been removed under the no fault divorce law.

In place of six weeks and one day, the new time frame from the submission of the statement will be 20 weeks. Each party will have sufficient time to agree to practical separation arrangements. Upon the expiration of 20 weeks, the court will grant a conditional order. Conditional orders replace the term known as “Decree Nisi” which the term is currently used to confirm your right to divorce.

After the order is issued conditionally, there is another 6-week period before the final order is granted, terminating the marriage or civil partnership. It is a replacement for the old term known as “Decree Absolute”.

To Top
Skip to content