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Divorce and separation

If you’re considering filing for divorce, it’s important you seek legal advice as early as possible to ensure you understand what to expect.

The No Fault Divorce came into effect in April 2022. A No Fault Divorce allows couples to leave their marriage without having to use one of the five facts to prove your marriage has ‘irretrievably broken down’, you can simply make a declaration together saying that it has.

Can a couple jointly apply for a no fault divorce?

Yes. A couple can apply for a no fault divorce singly or jointly. Previously one spouse had to issue divorce proceedings against the other.

The new law doesn’t change that a solicitor can only act for one of you in any child or financial arrangements.

There might be the need to consider what would happen if one of you changes your mind due to a breakdown during discussions on child or financial arrangements.

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 now will be six months.

No Fault Divorce process.

  • A couple 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 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.

How much does a no fault divorce cost?

A no fault divorce may be less costly than the current divorce process because it is less contentious. It is hoped that more amicable agreements can be reached more quickly so outcomes are less expensive.

Arrangements for children and matters relating to property and finances will still need to be agreed. The associated costs here will be the same as any type of divorce.

For more information, please call WLS Solicitors on 01189 111 439. We’ll advise you on the best way to proceed and of the likely costs.

Marriage Annulment+

A marriage annulment is a declaration made by the court that your marriage is invalid, and is an alternative option to divorce.

You do not need to wait 12 months for the process to begin and arrangements for children and finances are dealt with in the same way as a divorce. Unlike divorce, however, all annulment cases go to court.

Annulments can be granted for various reasons, including:

  • If you or your spouse were already married
  • If either of you were under 16 at the time of marriage
  • If the wife was pregnant with another man’s baby and the husband didn’t know
  • If you didn’t conform to the correct legal requirements, for example, not filling in the forms properly

In some instances, you might not want to immediately consider divorce. Our solicitors, based in and around Twyford and Wokingham, will ensure you understand your options and enable you to make the best decision for you.

We can help you to put a separation agreement in place and provide guidance if you’re considering a trial separation. Whether you then decide to rebuild your relationship or make the separation permanent, we can help here too.

WLS Solicitors offers confidential, friendly family law advice at a time and location that suits you. Call us now on 01189 111 439 to find out more about your options.


If you and your partner can agree on financial matters and arrangements for children, the divorce process will be smoother and less upsetting.

In some cases, however, compromise can be tough. In these instances, mediation can help.

Here, the two of you can come together with an expert to try and find a solution that works for both parties.

To discuss whether you might require mediation services, call us now on 01189 111 439.

Financial matters+

When a marriage breaks down, coming to an agreement on financial matters can be tough.

WLS Solicitors will help to ease these difficulties and enable you to come to an agreement with your partner.

Whether you’re looking for advice on child maintenance payments, household payments, or formalising your decisions in a financial settlement, our team can help.

The cost of divorce+

The cost of divorce can vary depending on the complexity of your case.

There will be initial court fees of £593 to start proceedings. If you cannot agree on financial arrangements, you’ll have to pay a further £255 fee for financial proceedings.

Lawyers’ fees for advice and/or representation start from £600 (including VAT, but not including court fees). Call us now on 01189 111 439 to find out more about our fees.


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