On 6th April 2022 the long-awaited no-fault divorce will be introduced in England and Wales under the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020. This reform is widely welcomed by family law professionals and it seeks to put an end to the divorce ‘blame game’.
Under the current law, one party will be the petitioner, petitioning for a divorce from their spouse. The petitioner has to rely on one of five ‘facts’ to prove that their relationship has irretrievably broken down. These facts are:
This means that even in cases where couples are amicable and have jointly decided to end their marriage, unless they are willing to wait at least 2 years, one party is required to attribute blame to the other which can spark unnecessary conflict between couples.
Under the new laws, an individual or a couple will be able to file for a divorce on the basis that their marriage has irretrievably broken down without having to attribute fault or blame to one party.
Please refer to our previous article What to Expect from the New “No-Fault” Divorce System for further information on the background to this reform.
If you are considering divorcing your spouse there are several deadlines you need to be aware of.
The deadline for the paper and digital (i.e. the online divorce portal) applications is 31 March 2022 at 4pm. If a paper application is received after this date there is a risk it will be rejected and returned to you and you will need to apply once the new law comes into effect. Any applications on the portal after this date will not be accepted until 6 April 2022.
If you consider the application to be urgently issued between 31 March – 6 April 2022, please contact us immediately and we will undertake an assessment to confirm whether the court will accept receipt of the urgent application.
It is important to note that this reform is updating the requirements and procedure for a divorce, but it will not have any effect on financial settlements or child arrangements on divorce.
If you would like to discuss any of the topics raised in the above article, please call us on +44 (0)20 7936 8888 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.