In June 2020 Parliament passed the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 which is now an act of Parliament. It is expected that the new procedures and rules will come into force in the autumn of 2021. The new law will allow for ‘No fault divorce’, but what does this mean?

In becoming law, no fault divorce will replace the current ‘five facts’ or reasons that can be given for request of a divorce, these are;

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Desertion for two years or more by the respondent
  • Separation for two years or more with consent from the respondent
  • Separation for five years or more

No fault divorce will allow for the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage as the sole ground for divorce and will replace the need to specify one of the five facts above as grounds for divorce with a statement of ‘irretrievable breakdown’ and therefore removing any blame from either party.

In addition, the new legislation will:

  • remove the possibility of contesting the divorce
  • introduce an option for a joint application
  • make sure language is in plain English, for example, changing ‘decree nisi’ to conditional order and ‘decree absolute’ to final order

Our Q and A’s on ‘No Fault Divorce’

Will this mean we will see more divorces?

It is likely that we will see an increase in the short term when the reform takes place as some people look to avoid blame in their divorce. We would expect this to rerun to normal levels thereafter.

Does this make divorce quicker?

Unfortunately, the time to divorce process would remain the same and therefore would take just as long

Will it be cheaper?

Although the separation avoids blame and is less contentious there will often still be financial arrangements to be addressed which is often the time-consuming element of a divorce. However, with the no fault divorce we hope to see far more positive and less-expensive outcomes for both parties.