The new ‘No Fault’ divorce system will finally come in on 6 April 2022 reforming the current divorce process and taking away the notion of ‘blame’. Jeremy Tier, Partner in the Family Team at Wansbroughs Solicitors, answers some essential questions about the new system and what it means for couples…
No Fault Divorce – what do you need to know?
After years of delays and speculation, the new ‘No Fault Divorce’ system will come in on the 6 April 2022. The key features of the new procedure are as follows:
- The existing five ‘facts’ are being replaced with a singular requirement to provide a statement of irretrievable breakdown within the relationship.
- The divorce can no longer be contested by the Respondent.
- A joint application can be brought by both parties.
- A minimum waiting time of 20 weeks between submission of the petition and the proceedings has been introduced, to allow time to reflect and prevent applications made in haste.
In addition to this, the language used has been changed to become more user-friendly. The ‘decree nisi’ is replaced with ‘conditional order’ and the ‘decree absolute’ is now to be known as the ‘final order’.
Can I still petition under the ‘old’ system?
As of 6 April 2022, the new ‘No Fault’ divorce legislation will replace the current divorce procedure and therefore it will not be possible to petition under the old fault-based system after this date. However, you can still include any relevant information about the marriage, in the Statement of Irretrievable Breakdown.
What happens to my divorce if it is not concluded by 6 April?
So long as your petition has been submitted, it can still continue to proceed through the Court as normal. If you have not submitted your petition, you will need to comply with the new requirements.
How does this apply to the Dissolution of Civil Partnerships?
The New ‘No Fault’ system is applied identically to the dissolution of Civil Partnerships.
Does this change the Financial or Children Act Proceedings?
No – these changes only apply to the procedure used to apply for your divorce.
Do I have to wait until 6 April to petition for a divorce?
If you wish to petition under the new system – yes.
However, if you have been separated for two years and both consent to the divorce, or five years without consent, you do not need to identify allegations in your divorce petition. The period of separation can be solely relied upon (with consent if it has only been two years) to apply for a divorce.
You may already have sufficient evidence to petition under the current system: book your 30-minute free consultation with Wansbroughs Family team to discuss this further.