No fault divorce – your questions answered

On 6 April 2022 the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill was implemented after years of campaigning to create a no fault divorce system. We welcome the changes it brings; helping to positively modify the way that the divorce process operates.

Making the decision to bring your marriage to an end is understandably a difficult and at times traumatic one. Therefore, if anyone is contemplating divorce, we understand and appreciate that these changes might cause confusion. To help, we’ve consolidated your burning questions and aimed to answer them in a clear and simple manner.

If you require legal services for divorce proceedings, please contact our expert team today.

Watch: How will no fault divorce change divorce proceedings?

No fault divorce – frequently asked questions:

Why has the law changed?

Under the previous law, there were 5 possible facts you had to satisfy to secure a divorce and most required a period of separation. As a result, the majority of divorces proceeded on the grounds of ‘unreasonable behaviour’. This meant careful consideration had to be taken to provide a summary of the instances of behaviour that would be deemed to be unreasonable so that a judge would grant you permission to get divorced.

Resolution has campaigned for many years for the removal of the element of blame within the divorce process, as this caused an increase in hostility between the parties at the commencement of the process and arguably reduced the likelihood of an early settlement in the financial matters.

When did the law change?

The new divorce law comes into place on 6 April 2022.

What does it mean by ‘no fault’ divorce?

The new divorce law is commonly referred to as the ‘no fault’ divorce because you can now proceed to divorce without having to blame the other party.

How many grounds for divorce are there now?

There is only one and the parties no longer need to rely on proving one of the five facts. The sole ground is, that the ‘marriage has been broken down irretrievably’ and there is no reason to provide any further details as to why – it is now more of a ‘tick-box’ exercise.

What is the ‘period of reflection’

This a minimum 20-week period between the Divorce Application being issued and the granting of the Conditional Order. It allows the parties time to consider their decision and even reconcile, if they chose to do so.

Is there any change in terminology?

Yes, there is and we have covered this in more detail in our blog: No fault divorce – what are the key changes?

Is there a change in the fee for of applying for a divorce at court?

No, the court fee remains the same at £593.00.

Can you defend a divorce?

There is now no ability to defend a divorce application. The only exceptions are if there is a dispute as to the validity of the marriage or a question over the jurisdiction of the court to issue the proceedings.

Can you claim costs?

Under the new law there is no provision to claim costs from the other party within the application, this is to reflect the idea that there is no blame placed on the breakdown of the marriage. However, a separate application for costs could be made and we would be able to advice accordingly about this process.

How Moore Barlow can help

We are able to advise on all steps of the new no fault divorce process as well as the arrangements for finances and children, so please do get in touch.