What is no-fault divorce?

No-fault divorce is a reform of the divorce process that removes the requirement to place blame. Under the new law, couples can apply for a divorce because the marriage has broken down rather than needing it to be based on one of five defined criteria.

No-fault divorce will be introduced after long-running conflicting opinions about “the process being outdated” and it being ‘unnecessarily provocative’ since blame must be placed currently.

It has been argued that since the Children Act 1989 Part 1 Section 1 states that ‘the child’s welfare shall be the court’s paramount consideration’, blame should no longer have to be placed as it might conflict with this primary requirement. The UK parliament passed the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act in June 2020, whilst the law comes into effect on the 6th of April 2022.

What is different about no-fault divorce?

No-fault divorce will update the legislation surrounding divorce and the dissolution of civil partnerships, including:

the existing accepted grounds for divorce, including adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, living apart for at least two years (with both parties agreeing) or living apart for five years, will be replaced by the requirement to provide a statement of irretrievable breakdown.

  • It will no longer be possible for one party to contest the application for divorce.
  • There will now be an option for a joint application.
  • The legal jargon surrounding divorce will be updated to plain English. ‘Decree nisi’ will be updated to ‘conditional order’ and ‘decree absolute’ will be known as ‘final order’.

Should I wait for no-fault divorce?

Waiting for no-fault divorce to come into effect may be beneficial since no one needs to be blamed; this will likely lead to a more amicable divorce. Secondly, it may mean that there are reduced legal costs in most cases as discussions about financial settlements and child arrangements are likely to be less contentious due to the removal of the need to place blame. Finally, waiting for no-fault divorce to be implemented may be beneficial if one spouse is likely to object to the divorce (in cases that do not involve adultery).

How can Beverley Morris & Co. help me?

Based in Blackheath, Beverley Morris & Co. have an outstanding family law department on hand to advise and assist you with your divorce, from start to end, including financial settlements, child arrangements and more.

Contact us today for more information about how we could help you with divorce and dissolution.