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'No Fault' Divorce

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 received royal assent on the 25 June 2020 and it is now law.

This is the Act which will reform the divorce process in the UK and once implemented (due to be in Autumn 2021) couples who wish to divorce will no longer have to prove “fault”.  It will apply equally to both marriage and civil partnerships.

Currently, to issue a divorce, the petitioner (the person applying for the divorce) has to prove irretrievable breakdown of the marriage by reference to one of these five facts:

  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Separation of 2 years with the other party’s consent
  • Separation of 5 years

Under the new law, you only have to provide a statement that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.  An application can also be made jointly by both the parties to the marriage/civil partnership.

The language will also be simplified with a decree nisi becoming a conditional order and a decree absolute a final order.

The parties may not obtain a conditional order before the end of the period of 20 weeks from the start of proceedings.  A final order may not be made final before the end of the period of 6 weeks from the making of the conditional order.

The process should therefore take 26 weeks. 

It also removes the possibility that one party can contest the divorce as the court will take the statement to be conclusive evidence that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.

Therefore, if you have separated and were considering a divorce on the basis of 2 years separation, it may be that you can agree to request a divorce jointly from the court under the new law when it is implemented next year.

If you would like to discuss a divorce or separation, please contact a member of our Family Team on:

Exeter 01392 285000    Cullompton 01884 33818     Newton Abbot 01626 330127

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