No fault divorce

Today (6 April 2022) family lawyers across England and Wales welcome the long-awaited no fault divorce law envisaged in the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020. For the first time in English and Welsh law, the no fault divorce provision will enable couples to achieve a divorce simply because the marriage has broken down irretrievably and without the need to prove that one of them has behaved unreasonably. It is anticipated that the change in law will bring a number of benefits, including that couples are now able to apply for a divorce without having to waiting for two years as well as creating the option for couples to jointly apply for a Divorce. It is hoped that the absence of need to allocate blame will reduce animosity and allow couples to move on as amicably and constructively as possible, which in turn will assist with discussions surrounding the arrangements for children and the division of the matrimonial assets.

With the new law comes new procedures, time scales and terminology. It is now estimated that a no fault Divorce will be finalised within no less than 26 weeks from the divorce application being made. Decree Nisi will now be formally known as a Conditional Order and is estimated to be granted within no more than 20 weeks from the date of the divorce application. Decree Absolute will now be known as a full Divorce Order, with a time estimate of 6 weeks from the Conditional Order being granted.   

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