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No-Fault Divorce

No-Fault Divorce coming in 2022

On Monday 7 June 2021, the Government finally committed to introducing a ‘no-fault’ divorce process.

Existing divorce requirements

At present, there is only one ground for divorce and that is the ‘irretrievable breakdown’ of a marriage.  However, this then has to be supported by one of the five following facts:

  1. Adultery
  2. Unreasonable behaviour
  3. 2 years separation with consent
  4. 5 years separation (where no consent is needed), or
  5. Desertion.

Is no fault divorce a good thing?

In many cases, married couples are clear that their marriage has broken down irretrievably, but they have not been separated for long enough to file a petition for divorce on this basis.  In most cases it is not advisable to delay a divorce as you cannot secure a binding agreement on the finances until the Decree Nisi stage of the divorce has been reached.

As such, parties are often required to rely on adultery or unreasonable behaviour, which requires the need to give examples of behaviour.  This can often set the tone of the case if one party is unhappy with the particulars given and can impact on their ability to pursue matters amicably between them.  This can further lead to animosity when it comes to resolving matters relating to the finances and children, where applicable.

The decision to move forward with a ‘no-fault’ divorce is long awaited and will make what can be a difficult and emotional time, less acrimonious. 

The commitment to the new laws coming into force under the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 on 6 April 2022 is therefore welcomed.

If you have any questions on the above, please call us on 0800 84 94 101