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No Fault Divorce | Family Solicitors

What does a No-Fault Divorce mean?

On 6th April 2022, the law on divorce changed with the introduction of The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020. The old law required couples to rely on one of the following five facts: unreasonable behaviour, adultery, 2 years separation with consent, 5 years separation without consent or desertion. The new law of ‘No-Fault Divorce’ was introduced aiming to reduce heavily contentious divorces and promote amicable separations where possible.

No-fault divorces eliminate any kind of ‘blame’ on the other and simply requires a party to complete a declaration that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

Do both spouses have to agree to divorce?

Technically, no. Respondent’s will not be able to dispute whether a marriage has broken down irretrievably. The only grounds for disputing a divorce application are: issues regarding the Court’s jurisdiction to deal with the divorce, the validity of the marriage or a claim that the marriage has already legally ended. Therefore, the Applicant can apply for the divorce without having to worry whether the Respondent will agree to the divorce application or not.

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Will it make divorce easier?

The No-Fault Divorce reform should make divorces more straightforward, as it should reduce hostility between couples and as a result, hopefully divorce proceedings and subsequent financial and/or children proceedings will be dealt with in a more constructive manner and save both time and money for those involved.

What are the timescales?

The Court aim to deal with the divorce within 26 weeks. This is broken down as follows: 20 weeks from the date of issue of the application, parties can apply for the Conditional Order (which used to be known as the Decree Nisi). This aims to allow for a period of reflection for couples. 6 weeks after the Conditional Order has been granted, the parties can apply for the Final Order (which used to be known as the Decree Absolute). Once the Final Order is issued by the Court, the couples are formally divorced.

If you would like any further advice, please do not hesitate to get in touch and speak with a member of our Family department. We can offer a fixed fee appointment and we will be happy to assist you.

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