Divorce and Separation

New legislation to enable a ‘no-fault’ divorce

January 7, 2022

After years of discussion, on 06 April 2022, new legislation will come into force enabling a ‘no-fault’ divorce.

The introduction of ‘no-fault’ divorce allows for married couples (or civil partners) to end their marriage without having to assign blame or fault. This is a long called for change and will allow couples to move forward without unnecessary conflict.

Couples will no longer need to apportion blame to the other or rely on one of the current ‘five facts’ to proceed with a divorce. The ‘irretrievable breakdown’ of the marriage will remain the sole reason for divorce but the need to give a reason will be removed.

The new law also allows them to initiate the process together and jointly file for divorce.

The ability to contest the divorce will also be removed, meaning a spouse will no longer be able to impede the process should one party wish to end the marriage without the consent of the other.

A ‘period of reflection’ is to be introduced into the new process requiring a minimum period of 20 weeks from application to the first stage of the divorce. This is aimed at allowing couples to reflect on their decision to divorce and allow time for reconciliation if the couple wish to do so. The full process will take a minimum of 6 months.

It is important to remember that the legal process of divorce itself does not deal with arrangements for children, or financial matters – these are dealt with separately. It is important to take legal advice to check that everything is dealt with properly.