No-fault divorce becomes law on 6 April.
Until then, you can only apply for a divorce if you prove to the court that your marriage has irretrievably broken down due to one of these five reasons:
- 2 years’ separation (with consent)
- 5 years’ separation
Apart from separation, the other reasons apply blame to one of the parties. This can add animosity and stress to a difficult situation, and increase your legal costs. The new legislation brings the following changes:
- No need for blame
- No opportunity to contest the application (except on the grounds of the validity of the marriage)
- Option to apply jointly (currently, only one spouse can apply for a divorce)
- Simpler language (“Decree Nisi” will be changed to “Conditional Order”, and “Decree Absolute” will be changed to “Final Order”)
The new process will be simpler and less contentious, so – hopefully – couples will be able to achieve a more amicable and cost-effective divorce. Also, with less conflict, couples will be able to focus their attention on important matters such as their children and finances.
The changes also apply to the dissolution of civil partnerships.
For more information about this or other family matters, please talk to Meinir Wyn Jones, our specialist Divorce and Family solicitor.