No fault divorce from April 2022

Lindsey Canning Lindsey Canning 08 June 2021

Married couples can divorce without assigning blame from April 6, 2022.

Ministers today announced that the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, which will allow "No-fault" divorces will come into force in England and Wales in Spring next year.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act, which will stop couples blaming each other and allow irretrievable breakdown as a reason to split, was timetabled for this August however delays now mean the 6 April is now fixed as a matter of Parliamentary record.

Lindsey Canning, head of Family Law at Wake Smith Solicitors discusses the biggest divorce law change in 50 years.

“Current law requires people seeking divorce to give evidence of one, or more, of five facts to establish the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage; three are based on fault and two are based instead on a period of separation.

“The five facts are: ‘unreasonable behaviour’, adultery, desertion, 2 years’ separation (if the other spouse consents to the divorce) and 5 years’ separation (otherwise).

“From next April, under the new law, they will only have to state that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.

“The new law also aims to ease the impact of unnecessary conflict on couples and children and reduce family conflict.”

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act also removes the possibility of contesting the decision to divorce.

Lindsey added: “Currently, someone wishing to obtain a divorce without the consent of their spouse must live apart from them for five years, should they not wish to lay blame on the other party.

“Divorce proceedings will still be challenged on certain grounds including fraud and coercion.

“This update is the biggest change in divorce law in 50 years and it will also see a change in language to bring it into modern times. The terms "decree nisi" and "decree absolute" will be replaced with "conditional order" and "final order" and "Petitioners" will become "applicants".

“The new law also introduces a new minimum period of 20 weeks from the start of proceedings to confirmation to the court that a conditional order of divorce may be made.

“This allows greater opportunity for couples to agree practical arrangements for the future where reconciliation is not possible and divorce is inevitable.”

For further information on divorce proceedings and to book your free 30-minute consultation with the Family Law team call Lindsey Canning at Wake Smith Solicitors on 0114 266 6660.

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