No Fault Divorce

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The long-awaited provisions of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 come into effect today. This will mean that from today, the ‘no fault divorce’ comes into effect and couples going through a divorce or dissolution will no longer have to blame each other or wait until they have been separated for at least 2 years before issuing proceedings. Whilst the ground for a divorce or dissolution will remain that the relationship has irretrievably broken down, the requirement as from today is that the parties file a statement of irretrievable breakdown. This statement counts as conclusive evidence and cannot be contested unless the validity of the marriage or civil partnership is in question, or the Court does not have jurisdiction to deal with the application. The application can be made either by one party or jointly with each other.

There are other changes to the process which are important to be aware of. Once the application has been issued, there is now a minimum 20-week period from the date on which the application was issued before the parties can apply to the court for a Conditional Order, previously known as the Decree Nisi.  The purpose of the 20 week period is to allow the parties a cooling off period or a period of time to reflect to try and resolve any arrangements regarding children and finances. The Final Order, previously known as the Decree Absolute, can be applied for 6 weeks after the granting of the Conditional Order.

The hope is that the new legislation will help simplify the divorce and dissolution procedure and minimise the distress and upset of a relationship breakdown and help couples reach an amicable agreement during what is already a very difficult and emotional time.

For further information or advice, please contact our experienced team on 01558 650381 or contact