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No Fault Divorce launches on 6 April 2022 – what do we know now?

Following on from Mark Chapman’s articles of June 2020, we can now provide some more “flesh on the bones” about what the new no fault divorce will look like in the new era of more amicable divorces.

  • The existing ground for a divorce, irretrievable breakdown of a marriage will remain. However, the current 5 facts to establish this will be removed.
  • Spouses will still have to wait at least 1 year after their marriage to apply for a divorce.
  • For the first time since divorces were possible in England & Wales, a joint application to be made by the couple together will be permissible.
  • One spouse will still be able to make a sole application.
  • If a single application is made, the other spouse will not be able to contest the application and the divorce will be able to proceed unchallenged.
  • The application (currently known as a petition) must be accompanied by a statement by the applicant(s) detailing why they believe the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
  • The Court must take that statement to be definitive proof that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and must make the Divorce Order.
  • There will be a minimum timeframe from the start of the divorce to the Conditional Order (currently known as Decree Nisi) of 20 weeks or 5 months.
  • The existing “cooling off period” between the Conditional Order (currently known as the Decree Nisi) and the Final Divorce Order (currently known as the Decree Absolute) of 6 weeks + 1 day, will remain.
  • The time between the Conditional Order and Final Divorce Order can still be shortened on a separate application to the Court.
  • This means that the minimum timeframe for a divorce will be 6 months + 1 day from the start to the end of proceedings (unless the Court has shortened the time between the Conditional and Final Order).

We are awaiting a further update on what the new applications will look like, and when the new online system will launch so that applications can be saved ready to be commenced when the new changes come into place.

If you would like to speak to our Family Law team, please call 01256 320 555 or email: mail@clarkeandson.co.uk.

Jennifer Lee

Assistant Family Solicitor

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