Under the old law you had to show that your marriage had broken down irretrievably and rely on one of the five facts, namely adultery, unreasonable behaviour, two years’ separation with consent, five years’ separation or desertion.
If you were divorcing on the basis of unreasonable behaviour then the petitioner had to make behaviour allegations against their spouse even if they both agreed to end the marriage. This often resulted in unwanted conflict between the parties.
For many years, the old law was criticised for being antiquated and unnecessarily inciting strife between couples. In the great majority of situations, no such conflict exists - the parties simply drift apart or decide that they want different things in life.
Under the new law, you no longer need to rely on any of the five facts. Instead you and your spouse will simply agree that the marriage has broken down irretrievably or either one of you can make a statement to that effect. There is no requirement to prove this.
How do I get a no-fault divorce?
Anyone in England and Wales who is entitled to a divorce will be able to apply for a no-fault divorce. There will be no option to apply under the old law or based on any alleged fault. One party or both will make the application, most commonly online, which will serve as notice that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. After 20 weeks have elapsed, the party or parties must indicate their desire to proceed with the divorce. Thereafter, the court can issue a conditional order provided the application is made validly. A final order can then be sought after a further 6 weeks and one day have elapsed, albeit most will be advised to wait longer if financial matters are not resolved
How much does it cost?
The court fee to issue a divorce application remains at £593. However, because a no-fault divorce cannot be defended, it may save legal fees if the divorce is not mutually accepted. At Boyes Turner we can assist with your divorce in a range of different ways, including managing the process for you entirely.
Do I need a lawyer?
While the divorce process has moved online and the portal is user friendly, there are still practical things to be considered such as financial matters. For example, divorce has important financial consequences which can affect your tax position and pension entitlement. A specialist family solicitor can help protect your financial position when considering divorce.
Another practical thing to consider is child arrangements. Where a couple cannot agree on arrangements between themselves, a specialist family solicitor can guide them on making a decision that is in the children’s best interests.
At Boyes Turner, we fully welcome the change in the law. It is anticipated that families will benefit significantly by moving away from a focus on why the marriage broke down and who did what; instead encouraging a more forward thinking approach.
This is a brief overview of the no-fault divorce therefore please do not hesitate contact our specialist family law team for further information who would be delighted to assist you.