What is no fault divorce UK?
If you’re wondering what no fault divorce in the UK means, it’s pretty much what it says on the tin.
It’s a divorce that can be granted without one partner blaming the other.
It’s set to come into effect in England and Wales in April 2022 and represents a significant change in divorce law – one of the biggest changes for years, in fact.
Solicitors Near Me look into what it means and how hit will work.
But what does it mean, how will it work, and how far-reaching are the possibilities?
Currently, to be granted a divorce in the UK, you must agree on the grounds for divorce with your partner, which includes:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- You’ve lived apart for 2 years and both agree to divorce
- You’ve lived apart for 5 years, and your partner doesn’t agree to a divorce
With no fault divorce being confirmed by the government in April 2019, it means a significant change to divorce law which will also apply to the dissolution of a civil partnership.
So, what does no-fault divorce mean?
The divorce law reforms are set to be introduced in April 2022, with the most important factor being the removal of the requirement for fault on one or both partners for the breakdown of a marriage.
Under the new laws, couples will be able to divorce without having to cite one of the 5 reasons for divorce, with simply the irrevocable breakdown of the marriage being enough to satisfy the judge.
But that’s not the only change that’s coming…
- Couples will now be able to apply for divorce jointly
Under divorce law in the UK right now, one partner must issue the divorce proceedings against the other.
The partner that begins proceedings is referred to as the petitioner from thereon in, while the other party is known as the respondent.
But under the new no fault divorce system, partners will be able to submit a joint application.
- You won’t be able to contest a divorce
Currently, in UK divorce law, one person submits a divorce petition and cites their partner’s behaviour as the reason for doing so. After it’s submitted, the spouse can then contest this. We’ve seen this happen in high-profile divorce cases that often end up in court.
BUT under the no fault divorce system, the option for contesting the divorce will be removed.
- The 20-week minimum period between application and the divorce being finalised will be introduced
There have been some concerns that the introduction of the no fault divorce laws could make divorce a more attractive option than attempting to save a marriage, especially as it aims to make the process quicker and easier.
As a result, the 20-week ‘period of reflection’ will be introduced to give couples a chance to reflect and work through any issues before they commit to getting a divorce.
The process will still involve the two stages of Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute, but the names will change to Conditional Order of Divorce and Final Order of Divorce.
Until April 2022
The current rules on divorce will stay in place until no-fault divorce comes into force in April 2022.
This means that to be granted a divorce in England or Wales, the court must be convinced that the marriage has irrevocably broken down.
Unless a couple has lived separately for at least 2 years, they can only be granted a divorce if one partner blames the other for the breakdown of the marriage, which must either be due to adultery or unreasonable behaviour.
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