What is a No Fault Divorce?

In April 2022, a new law was introduced in the UK that changed the way divorce is dealt with. Prior to this, couples had to use one of five reasons for applying for divorce. These were adultery, desertion, unreasonable behaviour, two years separation with consent or five years separation without consent. It is now much simpler, with couples able to claim that the marriage has just irretrievably broken down. The option to contest has also been removed.

Whatever your feelings on marriage and divorce, there are benefits to simplifying the process. The main difference now is that no blame is given to either party. A simple statement explaining the irretrievable breakdown is all that is required.

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The application can be from one party only or jointly and the legal terminology has been amended. What was once a ‘Decree Nisi’ is now a Conditional Order and ‘Decree Absolute’ is now known as a Final Order.

A further significant change to proceedings is that a period of reflection has been introduced. This period of at least 20 weeks occurs between the application submission and a Conditional Order being made which provides a chance for a couple to be absolutely certain this is what they wish before commencing.

So, why the changes?

Divorce law was last amended in the 1970s and it was felt that the legislation wasn’t fit for modern life. It was argued that the old system focused too much on conflict between parties and also led to unnecessary delays. For example, if one party claimed unreasonable behaviour and the other party contested this, a judge could refuse to dissolve a marriage.

When children were involved, part of the old process relied on proving what a bad parent the other party was, overlooking the fact that they might have been a great parent! It is therefore hoped that by removing the ‘blame game’, the process can be smoother, quicker and far less upsetting for children involved. When you need advice from Family Law Solicitors Gloucester, go to www.deeandgriffin.co.uk/

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A No Fault divorce usually takes between seven and ten months to complete. An application is made, either joint or single, and then 20 weeks must pass before a Conditional Order is granted upon agreement from both parties that a divorce is still desired. After a further 6 weeks, a Final Order can be made.

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