11th of January 2022

The end of the “blame game”. No-Fault Divorce… everything you need to know

Published by Sarah Bufton

No-fault divorce is due to come into effect in England and Wales in April 2022. This means that couples will be able to get divorced without waiting for two years or one person blaming the other. This change will also apply to civil partnership dissolution.


Here is a breakdown of what the divorce law reforms will look:


1. Divorce can be granted without one person blaming the other

The most important element of the no-fault divorce is the removal of fault or blame from the divorce process. Under the new laws, couples will be able to get divorced solely on the basis that the marriage has broken down.


2. Couples will be able to apply for divorce jointly

Under current laws, one spouse needs to issue divorce proceedings against the other. The person who starts the divorce is called the petitioner and the other person is called the respondent. Under the no fault divorce system, both people will be able to make the application jointly.


3. There will be a minimum of 20 weeks between application and divorce becoming final

A minimum timeframe of 20 weeks (4.6 months) has been introduced to counter concerns that the reforms will make divorce a quicker and easier option for couples than trying to save their marriage. This 'period of reflection' will give couples an opportunity to reflect and work through their differences before committing to a divorce.


The new divorce process will still involve the two stages of decree nisi and decree absolute, but the names of these will change. The decree nisi will become a conditional order of divorce and the decree absolute will become the final order of divorce.


4. It will no longer be possible to contest a divorce

Under the current system, one person submits a divorce petition, citing their spouse's behaviour or a period of separation as the reason for the divorce, and their spouse can contest this. Under the new no fault divorce system, this option will be removed.


For advice in relation to divorce or other family matters please contact Sarah on 01664 563162 or email [email protected]