Introduction of No-Fault Divorce Procedure Start Date Announced

The Government has finally announced a date for when no-fault divorce will be introduced.

Last year, Parliament passed the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020. This introduced the concept of ‘no-fault’ divorce for the first time in the UK. When it is finally introduced, spouses will no longer be required to provide evidence of adultery, unreasonable behaviour or periods of separation of 2 years or more to prove that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. All that should be required is for one of the parties to the marriage to issue an application to end the marriage and give a statement that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. This will trigger a procedure which, after 6 months, will enable the applicant to apply for the final order of divorce.

The Government has not yet provided all the details, but it is likely that the process will largely take place on-line through the existing court divorce portal. Originally, the Government said the new process would be in place by this Autumn but now we are told that this was too ambitious a target. The new target date for starting divorces under the ‘no-fault’ system is now 6th April 2022.

Obviously, not everyone will be able to wait until then. There may be some who will have been separated for more than two years. If both parties consent, either can issue the divorce now. Similarly, if you have been separated for more than 5 years, it is possible to issue the petition without blame. In other cases, there may be financial reasons for issuing the divorce petition without delay.

If you are separated, thinking of separating, or your marriage has broken down, it is always advisable to seek independent legal advice as soon as possible. There may be steps which can be taken to protect your assets or other interests.

At Temple Heelis, we offer a free, initial 30-minute chat with our family specialist, Andrew Hill. Please call our Kendal office on 01539 723757 to book a telephone appointment if any of these issues affect you or someone you know.