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Are you considering a divorce? But do not want to place blame on your spouse and allege behaviours?

Posted: 25-02-2022

No-Fault divorce is coming into effect on 6 April 2022, what does this mean?

The new divorce law changes are expected to come into effect on 6 April 2022 in England and Wales and will also apply to civil partnership dissolution.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 will make significant changes to the divorce process by removing the ‘fault’ element when applying for a divorce.

Under the current divorce law, unless the married couple have been separated for a period of two years (with other parties consent) or five years. The only way to initiate divorce proceedings would be to allege fault on behalf of the other spouse. Fault based divorces are known as adultery, desertion or unreasonable behaviour.


What do these changes mean for me if I am considering a divorce or have been waiting for the period of separation?

From the 6 April 2022, the current five grounds for a divorce will be replaced allowing spouses to file for a divorce solely on the basis that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. No fault or blame placed on any one party when issuing a divorce application.

A further change is that couples can make a joint application for a divorce. (At present only one party can apply)

A further change is in the terminology used i.e.

  • Decree Nisi will be called ‘conditional order’
  • Decree Absolute will be called ‘final order’
  • Petitioner will be called ‘applicant’

Once an application for a divorce has been issued, the applicant must wait 20 weeks before applying for a ‘Conditional Order’

The above changes aim to remove any imbalance between the parties and reduce acrimony, which will in turn help parties to separate and deal with their finances/children more amicably and in a more constructive way, with further intentions of using alternative dispute resolutions such as Collaborative Law, Arbitration or Mediation to resolve matters between them.

Waiting for the above changes to come into effect may not be beneficial or suitable for every couple. Therefore we always advise clients to obtain initial advice on their divorce and financial matters before any steps are considered or taken.

The above changes have been campaigned for many years and the change in law is a welcome part on many lawyers and professionals in this area of family law.

Sousa Law are specialist Divorce Solicitors in Southampton, and we are committed to offering a helping hand during difficult times. If you are having difficulties, please contact us on 02380 713 060, or email book a free initial consultation with a solicitor.

By Kim Walsh.