As practitioners this is something we have waited for, for some time. The new no fault divorce procedure should be available in April 2022.
What are the changes to the current law?
Currently the ground for divorce or dissolution remains the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage or civil partnership. Presently this ground has to be supported by one of the five facts, adultery, behaviour, desertion, 2 years separation or 5 years separation. Going forward, there will be no need to rely on any of the existing five facts when commencing an application for a divorce, dissolution or judicial separation,
It is hoped that by removing the need to rely on any fault, it will reduce conflict between couples thereby hopefully making the whole process more amicable.
What are the main changes under the new provision?
For the first time, either or both parties to a divorce or dissolution can apply for a divorce order. The application now will simply state that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.
Once a statement of irretrievable breakdown has been made by either or both parties, the court must accept the statement as evidence that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. There will now be no opportunity for a Respondent to defend a divorce or dissolution or to cross apply for one.
Upon issuing the divorce or dissolution, the court will now make a conditional order in place of the Decree Nisi. The applicant must confirm to the court that they want to proceed with the application before the conditional order is made. Under the new process, no confirmation can be given to the court to proceed, unless 20 weeks have elapsed from the start of the proceedings.
The final order for the divorce or dissolution will not be made until six weeks have elapsed from the date of the conditional order.
The overall time from start of the proceedings to conclusion should be approximately 26 weeks. This of course depends on the court administration.
Under the new provisions the terminology will change and the petitioner as previously used will be known as the applicant, the decree nisi is the conditional order and decree absolute will be the final order. This terminology is already similar to that used on civil partnership dissolution.
Get in touch
If you wish to speak to any of the family law team about subjects such as The New No Fault Divorce, or anything else relating to family matters, then please get in touch. You can call us on 01323 727321 to arrange an appointment or please fill in the form below and someone will get in touch.
Please note the above is for information purposes only and is intended to be a short summary. It should not be treated as a comprehensive guide and should not be acted on without qualified legal advice.