We now have a date for the introduction of no-fault divorce in England and Wales, although slightly later than previously indicated.
Plans were previously put in place for the introduction of no-fault divorce during the Autumn of 2021, however, it has now been confirmed that no-fault divorce will come into play on 6th April 2022.
The introduction of no-fault divorce through the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act will enable parties to put an end to their marriage or civil partnership without placing blame or drawing attention to the other person’s wrongdoing. Therefore, going forward, parties will be able to divorce based on a mutual recognition that the marriage or civil partnership has broken down.
There will be an introduction of a 20-week period of reflection with the period beginning when a sole or joint statement is made by one or both of the separating parties. This is intended to provide the divorcing couple with time to discuss their divorce and be sure that they want to proceed. At the end of the 20-week period of reflection, a conditional order will be granted by the Court and from this point, there will be an additional 6 weeks before a final order is made to conclude the divorce. The aim of this is to ensure that divorce proceedings are not protracted and so that there is a period of reflection before separation.
At present, parties looking to divorce must rely on one ground – that their marriage or civil partnership has irretrievably broken down by relying on one of five facts:
- Unreasonable behaviour;
- 2 Years’ Separation with consent (of the other party); or
- 5 Years’ Separation without consent (of the other party).
The current divorce process is therefore focused on attributing blame on the other party and highlighting the negatives in the relationship. Unless a party wants to wait 2 years to divorce, there is little opportunity at present to go through the process without having to place ‘blame’ on the other side.
We therefore have 10 months to wait until we can utilise no-fault divorce on a day-to-day basis, however, we have marked our calendars and expect the introduction of no-fault divorce to change the way divorcing couples approach their divorce by eliminating blame and attempting to ensure that divorce proceedings are kept as amicable as possible.
If you would like further information in relation to the introduction of no-fault divorce and how this might affect your divorce or if you are intending on divorcing once the introduction of no-fault divorce has taken place, please do not hesitate to contact our specialist team for further information.
T: 029 2034 2233
Author: Fay Jones