What is a no fault Divorce?
By Sammi Lindop
The new Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 is due to come in force on 6 April 2022. This will introduce the new ‘no fault’ divorce making the divorce process less acrimonious and in turn, the aim is to make the process of sorting out associated matters such as finances and children much smoother for all involved.
What was the old law?
Until now, the only way to achieve a divorce unless parties have been separated for two years has been to cast blame upon your husband or wife either by applying for divorce based upon their unreasonable behaviour or adultery. In adultery cases there is the additional burden in that the respondent would have to sign a statement admitting the same.
What are the changes?
The new way of applying for a divorce will be much simpler. The party making the application will have to provide a statement setting out that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and confirm that there is no prospect of reconciliation. This statement will be conclusive evidence in support of the divorce. The court will then grant a divorce order based upon that application and accompanying statement.
This new act will also allow the parties to apply jointly which has never been allowed under current law. Therefore, amicable separations are more likely.
Another difference in the new law is that there will be no option for the respondent to defend the petition. The only option would be to dispute the divorce however there are limited options to be able to do this.
The process and timescales will remain very similar however, with some slight terminology changes. The middle stage of the divorce now known as Decree Nisi will become a Conditional Order and a Decree Absolute will become a Final Order. The Court have also expressed that email service of the divorce application is preferred, again making the process much easier and quicker than having to do this through the post.
In relation to costs, the Court fee payable to the Court is currently £593 and this will remain the same going forward.
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If you would like to speak to someone with regards to this new divorce process or receive any other advice, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Family Team.