How to have an amicable no-fault divorce in England & Wales (2024)

Originally published on 27th April 2022 at 11:53 AM
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If you and your partner have decided to separate, working out how to go about this and where to start can often seem really daunting. There are also some common pitfalls to avoid which we have highlighted below if you want an amicable no-fault divorce.

*All references to divorce apply equally to dissolution

In England and Wales, as of the 6th of April 2022 , you can apply for a ‘no-fault’ divorce.

This means that you don’t need to blame each other in the legal process, nor will you have had to been separated for an extended period before being able to submit your application for divorce.

It has removed the former ‘grounds for divorce’, meaning the only reason stated on the application is that your marriage has broken down ‘irretrievably’.

Tips for how to achieve an amicable no-fault divorce

Tip one: Think about the health of your relationship and whether it’s actually over

We often find that couples who are on the same page emotionally, are in a much better place to agree to their children and financial arrangements. The news ‘I want a divorce’ can be really overwhelming, especially if it feels as though it’s out of the blue. It can also be followed by all sorts of emotions like denial or resistance. This can be particularly difficult if you then need to make big decisions over your finances and/or children's arrangements.

From when you or your partner says that they want to separate, that can be the difference between an acrimonious, expensive divorce, and an amicable no-fault divorce.

You can read our tips on how to tell your partner you want a divorce here.

Importantly, understanding the difference between a rough patch and a complete relationship breakdown can be crucial. If you’re not sure, there are lots of resources available, such as this blog 'Is it over; should I leave?' If you rush your partner, this will likely slow things down and might not lead to an amicable outcome. We have more tips on keeping things amicable in the early days of the process which you can find here.

Tip two: Do you have a plan for your children?

If you’re sure your marriage is over and you have kids, you’ll need to decide where they will live and how often you will both see them. If you need help organising your child arrangements, amicable offers co-parenting coaching sessions and also has a co-parenting app to help you stay on top of these. You will also need to decide how and when you will tell your children that you’re getting a divorce. Parenting plans are a wonderful way to document these arrangements. amicable also has a Parenting Contract to formalise your co-parenting arrangements.

Tip three: Navigating the legal process

In a nutshell, the stages of the legal process of divorce:

  • Submit the divorce application and wait for your ex to respond (for sole applications)
  • The mandatory [20-week reflection period]( starts from the date the court issue your application
  • Apply for the [conditional order]( and wait for your ‘certificate of entitlement’ to confirm the date your conditional order will be pronounced
  • Once your conditional order is pronounced you must wait a further 6 weeks before applying for your final order
  • You can [submit a consent order]( to make your financial arrangements legally binding (optional)
  • Apply for the final order (after the six weeks have elapsed) and wait for your [final order]( certificate confirming your divorce has been finalised.

Going straight to lawyers can be a common pitfall if you would like an amicable no-fault divorce. There are several options to explore and going straight to a lawyer can contribute to conflict and tension.

If you feel confident navigating the legal process yourself, you can submit your divorce application using the Government website.

Alternatively, you can use a service such as amicable to help you do this. You will also need to decide whether you would like to submit a joint or sole application for divorce.

Tip four: An amicable approach can help with the financial aspects of your no-fault divorce

"Most people don’t know that even after your divorce is finalised you are still financially tied together unless there is a financial order in place ending future claims."

To make any financial arrangements legally binding , and to end the risk of future claims between your ex-partner and yourself, you can apply for a financial order. If you agree to your financial arrangements, you can submit a draft consent order to be reviewed by a Judge. If you don’t agree, then a Judge can decide on any unresolved disputes for you. However, this is often a very protracted and expensive option.

A draft consent order can be submitted to the court once you have reached the middle stage of the divorce process (the conditional order/ formerly the decree nisi). You can apply for a financial order after your divorce has been finalised. However, it is usually recommended that you do this beforehand. You will need someone who understands the law to draft this for you.

amicable offers a variety of services, including those that help you to agree on your financial and child arrangements. You can learn more about our consent order drafting service below.

Tip five: Ask for help if you're not sure

If you are not sure where to start with the process, there are lots of places you can go for help. amicable offer a free 15-minute consultation to help you to work out your options. We also have coaching sessions which are a great place to start for a more in-depth view of your personal situation, to put you in the best position to have an amicable no-fault divorce.


What is the disadvantage of no-fault divorce?

Some argue that no-fault divorce diminishes the sense of accountability in marriage. Without the need to provide a fault, one or both people may feel less compelled to work on the relationship or address underlying issues.

What is the difference between amicable and non amicable divorce?

A divorce is usually considered ‘amicable’ when two people can reach agreements on various aspects of their divorce without significant conflict. This often involves having good communication between both people and having a collaborative mindset towards their separation. Also, it usually means little to no legal intervention i.e. not involving solicitors or going through the courts. Whereas a non-amicable divorce is usually contested, filled with disagreement and disputes, and are often far more complex and costly.

Do I need a solicitor for an amicable divorce?

No, you do not need a solicitor for an amicable divorce as most of it can be done yourselves, or through a divorce service like amicable. However, for the financial separation of divorce, which involves drafting a financial (consent) order, it is highly recommended that you use a legal or financial professional to help you with this. Whilst solicitors will be expensive, amicable offers a cost-effective way of sorting out your finances post-divorce.

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Start your amicable divorce journey

Speak to an amicable Divorce Specialist to understand your options and next steps for untying the knot, amicably.

Book a free 15-minute consultation

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