What Is No-Fault Divorce?

No-Fault Divorce
Separating couples can now divorce, dissolve their civil partnership, or legally separate without blaming each other for their breakup.

Divorcing spouses no longer need to establish the irretrievable breakdown of the partnership, one of the “five facts,” under the new rule. Instead, the new rule promotes reconciliation and reflection, trusting the couple’s judgement.

No-fault divorces are simpler and more amicable. The no-fault divorce process allows couples to petition for divorce or civil partner dissolution without having to blame their former partner for the irretrievable breakup of the marriage.

The Divorce, Dissolution, and Separation Act 2020’s no-fault divorce and other pertinent chances solely influence divorce processes. They don’t include money or kids.

No-fault divorce: what happens?
The Divorce, Dissolution, and Separation Bill established no-fault divorce laws:

Kept the sole ground of irreparable relationship collapse.
Removed the need to prove irretrievable breakdown with a single fact.

Changed divorce language:
“Decree Nisi” is now “Conditional Order.”
“Decree Absolute” is now “Final Order.”
“Petitioner” is now “Applicant.”

Introduced joint applications where the pair agrees the relationship is irreparably destroyed (applicants are still able to submit a sole application if their partner does not agree)
Removed divorce, dissolution, and separation contestability
Introduced a 20-week minimum from proceedings to “Conditional Order”
Kept the six-week gap between the Conditional Order and the Final Order.
No-fault divorce impacts separating spouses.
New no-fault divorce rules will affect separating couples in several ways:

No more blame

If both parties agree, they can file for divorce or dissolution together, providing for an amicable split.
No partner will oppose the divorce or dissolution and force them to go to court, saving time, money, and stress.
Most couples will wait roughly 6 months for their divorce or dissolution under the new timescales. Both parties should contemplate about whether they wish to split during this time.

Couples must make separate plans to:
– Split their money.
– Pay upkeep (if necessary)
– Determine kid residence/contact.
– Establish a parenting strategy.

How do I apply for a no fault divorce?

No-fault divorce lets one person file for divorce on their own, which is then served on to their ex-spouse, or two people can file for divorce together.

If only one person applies for a divorce, the court will send a copy of the divorce application (called a divorce petition under older laws) to the other person. Then, they have 14 days to send a “acknowledgement of service” form back to the court to confirm that they got the application.

Due to two minimum waiting periods. The Conditional Order (previously Decree Nisi) takes 20 weeks to issue and the Final Order takes 6 weeks (this was formerly known as the Decree Absolute).

The distribution of finances and child custody will also affect the length of a divorce.

Can a no fault divorce be contested?
No, unless the court is obligated to investigate. If a marriage is invalid or an English or Welsh court lacks authority to divorce,

Must both parties agree to a no-fault divorce?
Due to the lack of divorce contestation, both parties can agree to a no-fault divorce. Even if their partner disagrees, a single person can file for divorce.

Why reform divorce law?
UK couples seeking divorce had to prove their partnership was irretrievably shattered with one or more “facts.”

These facts were:

  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Adultery (which was not available for civil partnership dissolution)
  • Desertion for at least 2 years
  • Separation for at least 2 years with the consent of both parties
  • Separation for at least 5 years even if one party disagreed
  • The divorce petition was brought by one party who was effectively made to ‘blame’ the other party for the divorce. If one half of the couple disagreed with the divorce or the facts relied upon, they could contest the divorce and potentially even prevent it.

For years, this law was chastised for being antiquated and causing marital strife. Most divorces occur because the couple drifts apart or wants different things in life.

Many believed the divorce “blame game” was unnecessary, even if the couple fought. Why does one spouse have to substantiate their grievances or stay married if the other disagrees if they want a divorce?

Over the years, people have been compelled to stay married to mismatched and abusive relationships. In 2018, Tina Owens lost her Supreme Court struggle to divorce her husband, forcing her to remain married against her will until 2020, when five years of separation allowed her to divorce without her husband’s consent.

The government finally reformed divorce legislation in April 2022 after this lawsuit.

Our no-fault divorce lawyers can help.
No-fault divorce should simplify the divorce process, but you should still consult with experienced divorce and separation solicitors for practical, sensitive guidance.

Our London no fault divorce solicitors may help with the specifics of a solitary or joint application.

After a divorce application and a Final Order, there will still be many decisions to make, such as how to split the finances and what to do with the children.

Our divorce solicitors always aim to provide a safe conclusion for our clients and their families. Our team is skilled in collaborative law and mediation, promoting a less contentious divorce.

Divorce, civil partnership dissolution, or separation advice?
Queen’s Park Solicitors family lawyers handle everything from simple separations to complex divorces.

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