It’s nobody’s fault: the “no fault” divorce is here

It’s nobody’s fault: the “no fault” divorce is here

From 6 April 2022 divorce law in England and Wales is finally changing. Allegations of blame against one party by the other are no longer required, and it will no longer be necessary to petition for divorce. The parties will simply be able to say that a marriage has broken down irretrievably.

A long time coming

Family law practitioners, including our own Sarah Bostock, have been campaigning for this change for many years.

Allowing the parties to co-operate and resolve their separation issues amicably can only help to reduce the stress and anxiety of family break-down. It is also hoped it will reduce costs for many couples who would otherwise have had to engage in lengthy legal wrangling.

Where one party has been particularly difficult about divorce, perhaps refusing to co-operate and therefore locking their spouse into an unhappy marriage, the option to progress the divorce is now easier.

Safeguards are built in

The no fault divorce does require a delay of 20 weeks between application and conditional order, offering a period of reflection, to ensure that the divorce is the right route for the family.

The intention of the new law is to make divorce more accessible and straightforward. The application is now simpler and written in straight-forward English, which means it may not be necessary to involve a solicitor in the technical divorce process at all.

Finances and children still need to be resolved

However, this latest legal change does not remove the requirement to resolve financial matters and children’s arrangements in parallel to the divorce process. Often these issues do need the assistance of a lawyer, but at least it’s a move in the right direction to simplify, minimise costs, alleviate stress and avoid acrimony.

The rest of the UK

A form of no-fault divorce exists in Scotland, but for now the law has not changed in Northern Ireland.

Can we help you?

If you would like to find out more about divorce, the resolution of financial matters on divorce – or separation without divorce, do not hesitate to contact Sarah Bostock Nexa’s family law specialist: sarah.bostock@nexa.law or, anyone of the Nexa family law team.