No Fault Divorce has Become Law
April 6th 2022 marks the implementation of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, meaning that it is officially now possible to divorce a spouse on a "no fault" basis.
Divorcing couples are no longer required to assign blame to one party in order for their marriage to be dissolved.
The new law applies to both marriage and civil partnerships.
This also means that if one party wishes to obtain a divorce, and makes an application for a divorce, that it is no longer possible for the other party to contest the divorce. Upon service, the Respondent cannot defend the divorce, they can only seek to dispute the validity of the marriage or jurisdiction (i.e. whether the courts in England and Wales have the ability to deal with the case and not a court in another state)
In addition, the Act enables, spouses whom agree that their marriage is at an end to jointly apply for a divorce.
The new law has also simplified the legal terminology whereby what was previously, a divorce petition will become known as a divorce application, and instead of the old Latin terms of Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute, we will now see the introduction of Conditional and Final Orders.
Twenty weeks after issue of proceedings and presuming service has occurred, the application can be made for the Conditional Order. After a further six weeks, the application can then be made on a sole or joint basis, for the Final Order.
The process will now also, almost always be a digital process and the vast majority of applications will be submitted online.
It is estimated that, in line with these new developments that the statistics of couples seeking divorces will now surge.
What however is crucial is that, as well as ending the marriage, a legally binding financial order is obtained safeguarding each party from any future financial claims from their former spouse.
It is also highly advisable to obtain legal advice in relation to the arrangements for any children of the family, and to consider updating, or making a will. Any existing will becomes void upon divorce.
It remains imperative to obtain skilled legal advice and representation throughout the process. At RLE Law we also offer free initial 20 minute appointments for all new family law clients to discuss the process and offer advice on fees and/or legal aid, subject to status.