Currently, when applying for a divorce the applicant has to prove one of five facts. These are adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, two years’ separation with consent or five years’ separation without consent. This approach has been widely criticised for causing animosity between spouses, which has undermined their attempts to resolve child arrangements or their finances amicably.
The law is changing with the introduction of no-fault divorce from 6 April 2022. The ground for divorce will remain the same, that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. However, this will be declared without needing to substantiate one of the facts in order to evidence this.
After making the divorce application you will have to wait 20 weeks before you can apply for the conditional order. In the application for the conditional order, you must confirm that everything in the divorce application remains unchanged and you wish to proceed with the divorce.
A six-week period is required from the date of the conditional order before you can apply for the final divorce order. This brings your marriage to an end and you are then formally divorced. Often you should not apply for the final divorce order until any application for financial orders has been resolved. We would be happy to discuss that with you.
Any other changes
It will now be possible to make a joint application for divorce, further reducing the fault-based concept whereby one spouse makes the application and potentially blames the other.
Terminology is also changing, the ‘Decree Nisi’ becoming ‘Conditional Order’ and the ‘Decree Absolute’ becoming the ‘Final Order’.
Lastly, it will no longer be possible to contest a divorce, except in extremely limited circumstances.
If you would like further advice, please do not hesitate to get in touch and speak with a member of our Family Department. We offer a fixed fee appointment and we will be happy to assist you.