No one ties the knot expecting it not to work out. However, the introduction of the no fault divorce law means that couples can now get divorced without needing to allocate blame on the other for the collapse of their marriage.

What happens in a no fault divorce?

Under current legislation, parties can only apply for a divorce if they can provide evidence to the court that their marriage has irretrievably broken down. To evidence this, one spouse has to allege one of the following five facts are relevant ‘fault’ by the other:

  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Two year separation – if both parties agree
  • Five years separation – if there is no agreement

However, with a no fault divorce, couples will no longer need to rely on one of the five facts. This means that they can get divorced without having to lay blame. This takes away much of the unnecessary animosity, stress and emotional pain that often comes with divorce – all of which can make an already difficult situation worse. Not to mention, this has the potential to make the process of getting a divorce less costly. With this in mind, it’s fair to say that, for many, the no fault divorce law is a welcomed change.

Plus, the removal of the blame game also means that both parties can apply for a joint application. The hope is that being able to say that the marriage has simply failed, without putting blame on either party, will make divorce a much more amicable process. To top things off, the removal of the ‘fault’ element means parties no longer have to worry about applications being contested. Though bear in mind that divorce applications can still be contested on the grounds of the validity of the marriage.

When is the new divorce law coming in?

No fault divorce law is set to come into effect in England and Wales on 6th April 2022. Since 2015, campaigners have been pushing to overhaul UK divorce law. The divorce process can take months or even years. Couples often end up facing prolonged courtroom battles.

This means that from the 6th of April, one spouse can apply for a conditional order for divorce, otherwise known as a decree nisi, 20 weeks after the first filing. After 26 weeks, they can apply for the final order, ‘decree absolute’. As long as the correct procedures have been followed, the divorce will proceed even if the other spouse does not agree.

Note that the introduction of the no fault divorce law will not change the way financial cases and childcare arrangements are dealt with.

How to get a no fault divorce

Even if both parties agree that there is no ‘fault’ on either end and have each other’s best interests at heart, it’s not always possible to achieve a quick, stress-free divorce. This is particularly true if there are disputes regarding matrimonial assets or children.

divorcing couple checking paperwork

To make sure you’re not left short, it’s sensible to seek the services of a solicitor. An experienced solicitor will not just take care of the paperwork. They will also provide advice and make sure the correct procedure is followed. This will ensure the divorce progresses smoothly and, more importantly, that the most beneficial outcome is achieved. Getting legal advice at an early stage can make sure that you protect your legal position regarding finances and children.

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