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No Fault Divorce

Tuesday 8th February 2022

No fault divorce is due to come into effect in England and Wales in April 2022, although we do not know exactly when it will be possible to submit applications.

This means that couples will be able to get divorced without one person needing to blame the other. This change in the law will also apply to civil partnership dissolution.

Stages of 'No Fault Divorce'

1. Under the no fault divorce system, (the term 'petitioner' will be replaced by 'applicant') both people will be able to make the application jointly without the need to state that anyone is to blame.

2. The most important element of no fault divorce is the removal of fault or blame from the divorce process. Under the new laws, couples will be able to get divorced solely on the basis that the marriage has broken down.

3. Under the new no fault divorce system, the option to contest the divorce will be removed.

4. There will be a minimum timeframe ('cooling off period') of 20 weeks between the first and last stages of the divorce. Divorces will take a mimimum of 6 months to complete taking this cooling-off period into account. The new process will still involve the two stages of decree nisi and decree absolute, but the names of these will change. The decree nisi will become a 'conditional order' of divorce and the decree absolute will become the 'final order' of divorce.