No-fault divorce was introduced in England and Wales on the 6th of April 2022.
What do the new ‘no-fault divorce’ laws mean?
The changes end the necessity for couples to blame each other or be separated for long periods of time. Instead, couples are able to give the court notice that they wish to divorce, stating that they believe the marriage is beyond repair. This means ‘irretrievable breakdown’ remains the sole grounds for divorce, but you no-longer have to give details (like saying your partner has committed adultery or detailing your partners ‘bad’ behaviour by writing a behaviour statement) to the court.
To find out more about it, take a look at our helpful guide on the no-fault divorce bill and the meaning.
When did ‘no-fault divorce’ start?
No-fault divorce has already been implemented in other legal systems such as Scotland and Australia. However, the plans to implement the changes to divorce laws in England and Wales were only first confirmed in April 2019. This followed the Tini Owens ruling where Mrs Owens divorce was refused due to her husband contesting it. If you would like to learn more about this historic case and its impact on the new divorce laws you can read our post here.
When will No-Fault divorce become law in England and Wales?
The bill passed it’s second reading in Parliament and received Royal Assent in June 2020. However, couples weren't able to use ‘no-fault divorce’ in England and Wales until the 6th of April 2022.
The new ‘no-fault divorce’ laws were originally scheduled to be implemented by the government in Autumn 2021. However, on the 7th June 2021, officials announced that the technicalities around implementing such a big change were taking longer than expected and therefore they had to delay the new laws until April 2022.
For more information on No-Fault divorce, click here to listen to Nigel Shepherd recap the key changes and what the new Divorce Laws mean for couples in England and Wales on The Divorce Podcast. Nigel has been campaigning for no fault divorce for over 25 years and was awarded the John Cornwell Award for Outstanding Contribution to Family Law at the Jordans Family Law Awards in 2019.
If you’d like to talk about the impact of the change in the law to ‘No Fault Divorce’ you why not book a free 15-minute call with one of our friendly amicable experts.
When can you get a no-fault divorce in the UK?
Scotland has had no-fault divorce for a number of years. Unfortunately 'no-fault divorce' is not available in Northern Ireland yet, please head to their government website for more information.
If you live or are domiciled in England and Wales, you can get a no-fault divorce as of the 6th of April 2022.
When no-fault divorce comes into place, how long will it take for a no-fault divorce in England and Wales?
No-fault divorce will take a minimum of six months due to the mandatory waiting period after submitting for divorce/dissolution.
When no-fault divorce becomes law, how will it work in practice?
No-fault divorce helps reduce the acrimony associated with divorce dissolution. Couples will no longer have to decide who will divorce who and the current five reasons that you can choose from will be removed and replaced with no-fault divorce.