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Read more articles in: News, Stuart Daniel

No-fault divorce rules – here’s what you need to know

On 6 April 2022, no-fault divorce became law in England and Wales. The legislation has been described as the biggest ‘shake-up’ of family law in almost 50 years.

Here, Stuart Daniel, a Senior Associate with Mander Hadley, who specialises in family law, explains how no-fault divorce will affect couples seeking to end their marriage.

What is no-fault divorce?

The previous system of bringing divorce proceedings, which in many cases required one party to blame the other for the breakdown of their marriage, has been replaced with a no-fault system which is designed to enable divorcing couples to formalise their separation more amicably.  

Now, people can simply apply for a divorce, either individually or jointly.

How long does it take to get a divorce?

The no-fault divorce process provides time for couples to consider their decision to divorce.  There is a mandatory waiting period of 20 weeks between the application for divorce and the conditional order of divorce which is designed to give couples time to reflect and consider reconciliation.

Couples may also use this time to resolve financial and other issues arising from their separation.

A final order can be made after 6 weeks have elapsed from the date of the conditional order but this may take longer if the couple are still in the process of resolving financial issues.

What if I don’t agree to a divorce?

It is no longer possible to contest a divorce. It will be sufficient for one party to the marriage to declare that it has broken down irretrievably.

What is the benefit of no-fault divorce?

Experts have long argued that the requirement to attribute blame has often caused more harm than the divorce itself.

Divorcing couples will be able to spend more time focusing on the future, such as the wellbeing of their children and how finances can be split.

Are there alternatives to divorce?

An alternative option is judicial separation. This is a legal process and recognises that both parties are legally separated but remain married after a Decree of Judicial Separation.

For some couples Judicial Separation may be preferable, enabling them to deal with their financial arrangements without formally dissolving their marriage. There are, however, limitations with Judicial Separation, particularly in respect of financial settlement.

How can Mander Hadley help?

At Mander Hadley, we offer competitive prices to assist you in divorce proceedings and ensure that matters progress as smoothly as possible.

Our Family Law experts can guide you through the process and provide cost-effective solutions to keep matters progressing.

Additionally, to help you understand how the new no fault divorce proceedings may affect you, Stuart Daniel has recently recorded a podcast on the topic, which is available to listen to here.

To find out more about our family law services, including separation and divorce, please contact us.

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