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No Fault Divorce from April

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The biggest change to divorce law is due to come into force on 6th April 2022 and the new “no fault” divorce will change the way divorces are dealt with.

All solicitors use an online service to issue divorces and with the new legislation approaching the Government will be closing this portal “soon” to prepare for the new law coming into force. This means that there will be a gap (which is yet to be confirmed) and could result in a period when your divorce may not be issued.

Emma Kendall, one of the experienced divorce and family lawyers at Pearson Solicitors would encourage anyone who has been thinking about divorce and not able to wait until some time after 6th April 2022 to start the process to get in touch now.

“It can take time for divorce proceedings to get started and you need the divorce to be able to start the process of obtaining a court order to sort out your finances. Therefore, unless you are prepared to wait perhaps 2 or 3 months to submit a Court order on your finances then you may wish to start those divorce proceedings before the new law comes into force.”

“We will always advise clients as to the best route for them and it is always best to seek professional expert advice before embarking on these legal proceedings,” Says Emma.

In order to make the separation process easier to understand for clients seeking a no fault divorce, there are also a number of language changes to the terminology being used.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 makes changes to outdated phrases in the divorce, dissolution, nullity, and separation process. The language is being changed to make it simpler and more accessible to those outside of the legal profession and aligns with the language used in civil partnership proceedings. To support clients seeking a divorce our Family lawyers have created a full list of the new terminology surrounding the no fault divorce process.

“For clients we hope the process will be seemless and we welcome changes to bring the divorce laws into the 21st century, people may have questions on how no-fault divorce will work and we are only happy to take their calls and emails and chat to them about how it could work for them” says Emma.

Will my divorce application be considered under the new law if it has already been issued under the current law?

No, any application issued on or before 5th April will continue to progress under the existing law meaning the applicant will apply for and receive a Decree Nisi and a Decree Absolute to finalise their divorce.

The application must have been issued by 5 April for this to be the case. It is not enough to have posted the application by 5 April. Applicants wishing to have their applications considered under the existing law must ensure the court has received their applications by 4pm on the 31st March 2022 on paper, or submitted by 4pm on the 31st March 2022 digitally in order to ensure they are issued in time.

How long does a no fault divorce take?

The government is introducing a new minimum period of 20-weeks between the start of proceedings and applying for a conditional order of divorce or dissolution. Together with the existing minimum six-week period between conditional order and final order of divorce this will mean that divorce for most people will in the future take a minimum of 26-weeks or six months, with additional time for the conditional order application to be considered and pronounced. If the couple needs more time to complete their divorce, then the law will allow for this.

In exceptional circumstances (such as terminal illness or imminent birth of a child to one of the parties), it may be possible to have this process expedited.

Does No Fault Divorce apply to partnership proceedings?

Yes, the changes in the divorce law apply to civil partnerships.

How can we help?

For advice on all aspects of divorce and separation contact our Divorce and Family Law Solicitors on 0161 785 3500 o0r email

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

Written by Emma Kendall


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