What is a no-fault divorce

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What is no-fault divorce?

In April 2022, No-fault divorce was introduced in England and Wales to remove the need for blame as a basis for divorce.

Previously, divorce could only be granted if the marriage had irretrievably broken down and this statement had to be supported by one of five facts:

• adultery
• unreasonable behaviour
• desertion
• 2 years separation with consent
• 5 years separation (no consent needed).

The above carried a legal requirement to apportion blame to just one party if they wished to divorce in under two years (the minimum separation period).

Benefits of a no-fault divorce

As the title would suggest, the new no-fault divorce options eliminates the need for the blame game and as such is a far more attractive option if both parties agree no wrongdoings have taken place. It means applicants are no longer required to assign blame to either party.

Sensitive details that are potentially upsetting to both parties will no longer need to be aired in court.

Another, more amicable, feature of a no-fault divorce allows you and your partner to make a joint application for divorce if both parties agree the marriage has broken down irretrievably.

For those who find themselves in abusive relationships, a no-fault divorce ensures the abuser can no longer contest the divorce.

Applicants will no longer have to wait 2 or 5 years to evidence prolonged  separation, allowing both parties to move on a lot sooner.

In short, with the removal of many previous stresses, both parties can proceed positively and apply focus to the key areas such as property, finances and child arrangements.

How long will a no-fault divorce take?

After the application is made, the applicant(s) are subject to a 20-week minimum period to confirm they wish to proceed with the divorce.

The appointed court can then make a Conditional Order, previously known as a Conditional Order (previously known as decree nisi).

Lastly, after a minimum period of 6 weeks, the court can proceed with the Final Order, previously referred to as a Decree Absolute.

In total, a no-fault divorce should take between 6-8 months. This includes administration, negotiations and other processes.

Will a no-fault divorce affect what I am entitled to?

A no-fault divorce will have no impact on the division of financial assets, shared property or child arrangements.

Whilst financial resolution can take time, the introduction of a 20-week ‘cooling off’ period within the no-fault divorce process should theoretically allow the applicants time to resolve any financials ahead of the completion date.

No-fault divorce and child arrangements

A no-fault divorce will have no impact on the existing requirement for parents to agree on the best outcome for their children. A Child Arrangement Order will continue to be in place and covers custody implications.

If anything, it is hoped the reduced level of stress and tension a no-fault divorce brings will be of great benefit to any children involved.