For a while, it’s been discussed that the blame element should be removed from the divorce process.
This would allow couples to remain more amicable after separation, which is particularly important if they have children. The no fault divorce bill was backed by MPs in 2020 and brought in by the Government on 6th April 2022.
Previously, if you wished to obtain a divorce then you had to rely on one of five facts. Unless you had been separated for two years or more, you had to rely upon either adultery or unreasonable behaviour. This placed blame on one party for the breakdown of the marriage. However, many marriages fail and it’s not particularly either party’s fault. They were then left in limbo, unable to bring divorce proceedings for at least two years. With a no fault divorce, you are now able to simply divorce on the basis that your marriage has broken down and is irretrievable.
Using the old Divorce rules, one party petitioned for divorce (Petitioner) and the other party responded (Respondent).
With a no fault divorce, you can apply for your divorce together, if you both agree that it’s the right thing to do.
Previously, after you had applied for your Decree Nisi, you had to wait six weeks and one day to apply for your Decree Absolute to finalise your divorce. Under the new bill, there is a period of reflection with a minimum timeframe of 20 weeks between the application being made and finalising the divorce. This allows you to consider whether you believe your marriage has truly come to an end, or put a halt to the divorce proceedings if you wish to attempt to reconcile.
Even with a no fault divorce, it’s still important to deal with your finances and apply for a Financial Order to be approved by the Court.