What is a No Fault Divorce? All the facts.
Updated: Aug 16, 2022
What is a no-fault divorce?
In England, no-fault divorce refers to divorces where one spouse must no longer be proven in court to be guilty of desertion or adultery, or any “unreasonable behaviour”. It is the result of a new divorce law reform on 06 April 2022, and will apply to all divorces taking place after that date.
How will no-fault divorce work? What are the biggest changes?
The Divorce, Dissolution, and Separation Bill introduced the concept of no-fault divorce. The following are some of the aspects of no-fault divorce;
The couple no longer have to prove to the court that the relationship has broken down irretrievably
The updated language of divorce:
‘Decree Nisi’ has been renamed as a ‘Conditional Order’
‘Decree Absolute’ has been renamed as a ‘Final Order’
‘Petitioner’ (the individual who has submitted the application) has been renamed as ‘applicant’
Introduction of joint applications where both the spouse agree that the relationship has broken down irretrievably, and can apply for a divorce together. However, the applicants still maintain the right to submit the sole application for divorce if the partner does not agree to the application for divorce.
Removal of the ability to contest the Divorce, Separation, or Dissolution. This means that if one party makes a sole application for divorce, the other party can not contest or attempt to stop the divorce application.
Introduction of a new minimum period of 20 weeks from the day of starting the proceedings on the date when the ‘Conditional Order’ has to be made. (A conditional order refers to a document stating that the court does not notice a reason why a couple cannot divorce.)
Keeping the 6 weeks period between the final order and conditional order
When does no-fault divorce begin in the UK?
The no-fault divorce came into force in England and Wales on 6 April 2022.
What does no-fault divorce mean for separating couples?
In England, the basic objective of the no-fault divorce concept was to end the blame game between the couples, as the applicant does not need to prove a reason for divorce anymore (previously, things such as adultery, unreasonable behaviour, and desertation had to be proven before a divorce application would be filed).
This law also allows the couple to get the divorce in a less time-consuming and hassle-free manner without being forced to blame each other when the marriage has been already broken down and beyond repair.
It also means that divorce can happen with only the consent of one of the parties.
How do I apply for a no-fault divorce?
No fault divorce allows a spouse to make a sole application for divorce. Then the notice of the same is served to the other spouse. Apart from that, a joint application can also be submitted by the spouses together.
An online application can also be made for a no-fault divorce. To apply online, the names and addresses of both the spouses and the original and certified copy of the marriage certificate are required to be submitted along with the application.
In case a sole application is made, the court can send a copy of the divorce application earlier known as the divorce petition to the other spouse. After receiving the copy of the divorce application, the couple has to confirm the receipt of the application and accordingly should send an ‘acknowledgment of service’ form within 14 days back to the court.
We at Court Help Limited can help you to file a no-fault divorce.
Can Couples apply for divorce jointly?
Yes, couples can apply for divorce jointly under no-fault divorce, but do not have to, as the right for someone to apply for divorce on their own still remains.
How long does a no-fault divorce take?
The time limit related to the process of no-fault divorce is relatively straightforward. There is a minimum of 26 weeks before finalisation of a no fault divorce.
This time period breaks down into two different minimum waiting periods.
There is a waiting period of 20 weeks (Approx 4.6 months) before a conditional order (earlier known as decree nisi) is issued.
Further, a waiting period of 6 weeks has been made before the final order (earlier known as Decree Absolute) is issued. This time period allows for a “cooling period” before the divorce is finalised.
Could a no-fault divorce affect the outcome for my finances or my children?
No, no-fault divorce does not impact the child's arrangement or finances. In fact, in some situations, due to the removal of conflict it may make the arrangements easier to settle between the spouses.
Issues regarding the care of children can still be organised via a Child Arrangements Order
How much does a no-fault divorce cost?
The cost by the courts to file for a no-fault divorce is 593 GBP, however some people are eligible for help with legal fees if they are on benefits or low income and may have to pay a partial or much lower fee.
Can a no-fault divorce be contested?
No, a no-fault divorce cannot be contested.
Do both parties have to agree to no-fault divorce?
No, both parties do not have to agree to a no-fault divorce. A spouse can file a no-fault divorce application solely and the other spouse does not have the ability to contest it.
Why did the divorce law need reform?
Under the previous law in England, the partners who want to separate had to prove to the court that their relationship had broken down irretrievably. The following are the reasons why the divorce law was reformed;
In order to end the blame game between couples and ex-spouses
Allowing for couples to have an amicable divorce means the children of the couple may find it easier to maintain a good relationship with the parents
So a couple can separate in an amicable manner - which is beneficial for the couple and their children (if any).
Under the old law, the divorce application had to be made by one party who effectively wished to blame the other party for the divorce. And previously, if one of the spouses disagreed with the divorce, they were able to contest the divorce proceedings and potentially even prevent the application and stop the divorce. This can not happen under a No-Fault Divorce.
What are people's opinions on No-Fault Divorce?
After the introduction of no-fault divorce, a section of people supported the move made by the Government. According to the supporters, the introduction of no-fault divorce would end the blame game between the couples and ultimately help the ex-spouses to focus on their finances and children.
The other section of people criticized the new laws stating that it fails to hold the partners accountable for unreasonable behavior.
Thus, there is a mixed reaction of people toward no-fault divorce.
How We Can help you regarding a No-Fault Divorce?
We at Court Help Limited are specialized in family court matters including no-fault divorce by drafting statements and applications. Our legal team has rich experience and knowledge to assist you in the documentation and paperwork involved in such cases. Apart from no-fault divorce, we also specialize in various family law matters such as child custody, divorce settlement, domestic violence, etc.
To know more about no-fault divorce in England, check out some of our other related articles which are available here.
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Note: This article is not legal advice and must not be treated as legal advice.