On 6th April 2022, the new (and long awaited) no fault divorce law will come into effect.
The first divorce in this country was granted in the 1600’s, but it was only in the mid 1800’s that divorces began being dealt with by the Courts. The current regime dates back to the 60’s and, as most will agree, has long been in need of updating. Currently, one party to the marriage has to prove fault on the other’s part in order to get a divorce, otherwise they have to wait for a period of two years (if the other spouse consents) or five years after separation to initiate divorce proceedings.
The main changes to the rules from 6th April are set out below:
- It will not be necessary for one party to blame the other for the breakdown of the marriage - it will be enough for them to simply confirm the marriage has broken down without needing to apportion blame.
- Both parties can apply jointly for a divorce. This negates the need for one of them to be the applicant (currently petitioner) and the other the respondent.
- Terminology has been updated. The petitioner will now be known as the applicant; decree nisi is being replaced with “conditional order” and decree absolute replaced with “final order”.
- There must be a minimum “cooling off period” of 20 weeks between the application being made and the conditional order being applied for.
- It will no longer be possible to contest a divorce, save for in very limited circumstances.
These changes should make the process far easier, fairer and amicable. In turn, it is hoped that this will ensure a smoother path for parties who also need to resolve financial matters or arrangements for their children. The fate of marriages is being put in the hands of the parties, rather than the Court. It is hoped that in due course, changes will also be made to the way finance on divorce are dealt with however for now the process will remain the same.
If you are considering divorce and wish to discuss this further, please get in touch with us on 01926 886688. We are pleased to be able to offer a fixed fee for dealing with your divorce and in addition, are able to assist you with any other family matters you may be concerned about.