No Fault Divorce Goes Live

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Since 1973 married couples have only been able to seek a divorce if one party blames the other for the breakdown in their marriage or they agree to wait for a minimum of two years before doing divorcing.

At long last, the “No Fault Divorce” legislation comes into effect on 6th April 2022, this means no more “unreasonable behaviour” particulars or allegations of adultery need to be made and parties will not need to wait for to obtain a divorce due to their separation.

The new legislation allows couples to obtain a divorce by providing a statement that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. It is hoped that this change will help reduce animosity between the parties and enable them to work together better for the benefit of any children of the family.

At long last, the “No Fault Divorce” legislation comes into effect on 6th April 2022.

How long does the new procedure take to obtain a divorce? Approximately 6 months. Once a divorce application has been made, there is a 20 week “cooling off” period before the conditional decree of divorce can be made (previously known as decree nisi). One rule that has not changed is the six week wait between pronouncement of the conditional decree of divorce and the final decree of divorce (previously known as decree absolute). It is the final decree that will formally dissolve your marriage.

It remains possible to delay the application for the final decree to allow the parties to resolve issues surrounding the matrimonial finances.

This legislation has been long awaited by lawyers and separating parties alike and has finally been implemented following the case of Owen v Owen 2018, in which the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom denied the parties a divorce on the basis the respondent’s behaviour was not so unreasonable that the applicant could not be expected to remain living with the respondent.


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