What’s new?

From 6th April 2022, parties do not need to cite a reason for the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage under the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020.

Providing you have been married for over one year, proceedings can commence at any time and the application needs only to state that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

What was the previous process?

Before this change, a party had to demonstrate that the reason for the marriage breakdown fell under one of the following five categories.

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable Behaviour
  • Desertion
  • 2 years separation with consent
  • 5 years separation with consent

Why the change?

The new ‘No Fault Divorce’ has been implemented to try and remove hostility between a couple when a marriage breaks down by the removal of blame.

It is hoped that this will allow the parties involved, to resolve financial matters and arrangements regarding the children (if any), in a more amicable way.

Who can apply?

An application can be made by one party (The Applicant), or a joint application can be made by you and your partner.

The new legal jargon

With the No Fault Divorce also came some new legal terminology.

Pre-6th April 2022                       From 6th April 2022

Petitioner                                        Applicant

Divorce petition                             Application

Respondent                                    Respondent

Decree Nisi                                     Conditional Order

Decree Absolute                            Final Divorce Order

Defended                                        Disputed

The new time scales

For divorce and dissolution proceedings, there is also a new 20-week period between the start of the proceedings (when the court issues the application) and when the applicant(s) may apply for a conditional offer (previously the decree nisi). Essentially, a divorce can now take 26 weeks from start to finish upon the divorce application being issued.

For further information and advice, please contact Backhouse Solicitors for a free 30 minute consultation.

Tel:          01245 893400
Email:     [email protected]
Visit:       17 Duke Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1JU
Or send us a message through the Contact Us page on this website.