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Read more articles in: Blog, Family, Family Law, Stuart Daniel

Applying for divorce under the current rules? You must complete your application by 31 March 2022

Couples must apply for divorce by 31 March 2022 to separate under the current laws, it has been confirmed.

The notice, published by HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS), comes ahead of the introduction of “no-fault” divorce next month.

Under existing legislation, a husband or wife is required to attribute blame to their partner before a court can legally grant a divorce, unless the couple have been separated for more than 2 years and they each consent to divorce. The five “facts” are limited to adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, two years’ separation with consent, or five years of separation without consent.

But the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 – due to be coming into effect on 06 April 2022 – will remove this requirement and replace the five grounds with a mandatory six-month waiting period to give couples adequate time to consider or attempt to reconcile.

It means that couples who can attribute blame may be able to get divorced quicker if they file for divorce before the cut-off date. To do so, you’ll need to submit your application by 4pm on 31 March 2022.

But those who cannot attribute blame will be able to benefit from no-fault divorce once the changes come into force a week later.

The new laws will remove the ability to make allegations about the conduct of a spouse or contest a divorce (except in exceptional circumstances), therefore allowing couples to end their marriage jointly and amicably.

Commenting on the changes, an HMCTS spokesperson said: “On 06 April this year changes to the legislation on divorce will come into force. We will be launching a new online service to accommodate this change.

“The old service will be unavailable from 31 March 2022 while we prepare for these changes.”

For help and advice with related matters, please get in touch with our family law team today.

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