No Fault Divorce

As of 6th April 2022, the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 comes into force.  This Act introduces no fault divorce with irretrievable breakdown being the only basis of divorce. This means fault does not have to be shown, argued, or pleaded. The timescale involved in an undefended divorce could be 26 weeks.

Under the old laws couples had to prove that irretrievable breakdown was as a result of one of the following: –

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Desertion
  • Two years separation with consent
  • Five years separation without consent


The new laws therefore provide the opportunity for couple to dissolve their marriage in a more amicable and potentially cost-effective way.  It is important to note that no application for divorce can be made within one year of marriage.

The New Process

The new process starts with the Applicant filing the initial documents and, presuming the Respondent has been served, 20 weeks after the documents have been filed the Applicant can apply for the Conditional Order which is the first decree of divorce.  The Respondent has 14 days from service to acknowledge the proceedings.   6 weeks after the Conditional Order has been made the Applicant can apply for the final decree of divorce, now known as the Final Divorce Order.

The New Law

The new law allows for couples to submit joint petitions which means they can both apply together to the Court for divorce with both or either party applying for the Conditional Order.  Again, both or either party can apply for the Final Divorce Order.

The new laws will also have the benefit of not allowing victims of domestic abuse to be trapped by their abusive spouses due to them contesting a divorce. In the past, domestic abusers have taken advantage of the current laws and contested a divorce application in order to exercise further coercive control over their victim. The new laws will prevent them from doing this.

Contact us!

Contact our sympathetic and experienced divorce team for further information and let them guide you through a more amicable divorce settlement.  Our affordable divorce service will help you plan financially at this difficult time in your life which will, no doubt, be full of other uncertainties.

Fiona Pawsey
Article by Fiona Pawsey
Fiona has been practicing family law for over 12 years initially as a Legal Executive and then subsequently as a solicitor. Fiona is a trained collaborative solicitor, as well as a Resolution Panel Member. She is experienced in advising clients going through divorce or family breakdown, including financial settlements and disputes over children, in particular complex contact and residence issues. In addition to family law Fiona also deals with litigation, property transactions and residential Conveyancing

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