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What No-Fault Divorce Means

On 6th April 2022 there was a major change to Divorce Law in England and Wales as No-Fault Divorce was introduced.

Previously, the law required one spouse to “blame” the other if they wanted to file for divorce. However, with the introduction of No-Fault Divorce, couples can now leave their marriage without having to use one of the five facts to prove the marriage has ‘irretrievably broken down’. Now, an individual can simply make a declaration together saying that it has. This amendment to Divorce Law has allowed for much more amicable divorce proceedings for both the individuals concerned and for any children or dependents that may also be involved.

Under this new “no-fault” system couples may make a joint application to divorce. This is particularly helpful where the couple may have come to a mutual agreement that their marriage is over. This will emphasise their intent to amicably end their marriage.

How long does a no-fault divorce take?

If everything therefore runs smoothly and there are no other issues, the minimum length of time to get a divorce is around six months.

No-fault divorce process

  • A couple can apply for a divorce individually or together. This means they can choose to make a statement together explaining their marriage has irretrievably broken down. They don't need to explain why.
  • A period of 20 weeks will apply as a ‘cooling-off period’.
  • After 20 weeks and the couple are still looking to proceed, a Conditional Order is granted by the court. At this point you can now file a financial consent order with the court following the Condition Order being granted and (if you are having one) the financial order sealed (agreed) you can apply for your final divorce order.
  • A 6-week settling period.
  • After the 6 weeks is over a Final Order is made by the court.
  • The minimum length of time to get a No-Fault Divorce will be 6 months.

Can you contest a no-fault divorce?

No, you cannot contest a no-fault divorce. The reason for contesting a divorce is the mistaken belief that admitting fault will affect access to children and the fair division of financial assets.

Although a no-fault divorce cannot be contested, the terms of the divorce can. For example, financial arrangements and arrangements for children. In this case terms may be agreed through mediation or, failing that, through the court.

What happens about the parenting arrangements and finances?

You will need to reach an agreement on how the arrangements for parenting and how the assets and finances are agreed whilst living separately, as these are separate parts of your divorce and are not covered under the no fault divorce law.

If you are having difficulty on coming to an agreement between yourselves, mediation is the next reasonable step as it is a pre-requisite for going to court for a decision in most cases.

Contact us today

At QualitySolicitors Large and Gibson, our experienced family law team can help you navigate through both the “no-fault” system and the traditional system of divorce. Call our team today on 02302 296296 for a confidential discussion about your circumstances and how we can help.

Posted in: Divorce

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