Explanation of New No-Fault Divorce Rules
On 25 June 2020, The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill received Royal assent and became an Act of Parliament. The new Law will come into effect on 6 April 2022 and promotes no-fault divorce by removing the requirement to assign blame in divorce applications or waiting for years before making an application for divorce. The aim of the changes is to reduce the impact of unnecessary conflict on couples and children during a divorce. The divorce process will also now be entirely online.
Under a no-fault divorce, a couple can file for divorce once they have been married for at least 12 months.
- There is no longer a need to establish one of the previous five facts required for divorce. The new requirement is only for a statement to be made that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
- It will no longer be possible for one party to contest the divorce, although there will still be some grounds that will allow an application to be challenged. The Court must accept the statement and make a divorce order.
- Couples will be able to make a joint application for divorce.
- A Decree Nisi will now be called a Conditional Order and a Decree Absolute will be called a Final Order.
- A new minimum time period of 20 weeks from the date of the application to the date of the Conditional Order will be introduced.
- A further 6 weeks will then have to pass before individuals can apply for a Final Order. This change allows time for agreement to be found in respect of arrangements for children and finances. If you do not apply for a Final Order within 12 months of getting the Conditional Order, you will have to explain the delay to the court.
- It will be necessary to have a Conditional Order for divorce before the Court can make an order finalising financial arrangements. This applies whether the terms are agreed between the parties or the Court imposes a financial order. There are significant implications of the Final Order, and it is best to finalise any financial settlements before applying for a Final Order.
As with any divorce, it is almost impossible to estimate a total cost because each case is different. However, with the no-fault divorce, it is hoped that more amicable and constructive discussions will lead to better and less expensive outcomes. As ever though, this will come down to the personalities of the couple involved and the individual circumstances of their case.
Elaine Parkes Solicitors have family law solicitors in offices across the East Sussex and Kent including Brighton, Hastings and Tunbridge Wells and are available now to discuss this significant legal development in UK divorce law.
Contact us now to arrange an appointment to discuss how Elaine Parkes Solicitors can help you.