The divorce law in England and Wales changed on 6th April 2022 with the introduction of no-fault divorce. The new law encourages a more constructive approach to divorce with the removal of blame from the process whilst enabling separating spouses to focus on important child and financial arrangements from the very outset. The new law also applies to civil partnership dissolution and legal separation (judicial separation).
Under the old law, the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage had to be evidenced by relying on one of five facts: adultery, unreasonable behaviour, two years separation and the other spouse agreeing to a divorce, five years separation or desertion. Under the new law, there is no longer a requirement to cite one of these five facts. Separating couples are now able to obtain a divorce simply by making a statement of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage in the divorce application.
Here is a summary of the other main changes under the new law:
- An application for divorce is now made online.
- For the first time spouses can make a joint application for divorce as well as a sole application by one spouse.
- It is no longer possible to contest a divorce which will save time and costs for many couples. Under the new law a divorce can only be disputed on grounds of jurisdiction or the validity of the marriage .
- The divorce terminology has been updated so that the petitioner is now the applicant, the decree nisi is now the conditional order and the decree absolute is now the final order.
- The introduction of a new minimum period of 20 weeks from the start of the proceedings to when the conditional order can be made to give couples time for reflection.
- The divorce process will take a minimum of 26 weeks from start to finish.
Although the new divorce law makes the process of obtaining a divorce more straightforward, it does not automatically end financial ties with your spouse. It is therefore still important to seek early legal advice particularly if you have arrangements for children and finances to formalise, all of which our experienced team of specialist divorce solicitors can assist with.
With our expertise and experience in no-fault divorces, our local divorce lawyers can guide you through the process. Our team is equipped with the knowledge and resources to handle even the most challenging of cases and we will work closely with you to achieve the best possible outcome.
For advice on the breakdown of your marriage, contact one of our specialist family and divorce solicitors based in Guildford, Godalming, Woking, Cranleigh and Cobham. Call us today, email us or contact us via live chat.