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This year saw one of the biggest changes in divorce law in more than half a century. The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 came into force on 6th April 2022 with the aim to simplify divorce through a new method called the “no-fault divorce”.

Promoting reconciliation and reflection, this new method means that separating couples are no longer required to place blame in order to terminate their marriage.

What Was the Law Before?

Before this act was implemented, separated couples had to rely on the ‘five facts’ to be granted a divorce. These included:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable Behaviour
  • Desertion for two years or more by the Respondent
  • Separation for two years or more and the Respondent consents to the divorce
  • Separation for five years or more

These guidelines were very restrictive for couples who did not fit into any of the categories. The new law makes divorce simpler and more accessible for everyone.

What Is a No-Fault Divorce?

Under the new law, a divorce can now be applied for by simply stating that the marriage has broken down irretrievably For the first time ever, this can now be done as a joint application if both members of the relationship are agreeable in the proceedings (however single applications are still available).

There will no longer be any need for finger-pointing or acrimony at this already emotional time. The new method means that children are spared from witnessing any nastiness that may appear, and adequate time is given to make arrangements regarding other responsibilities such as finance and property.

A No-Fault Divorce has also removed the ability to contest a divorce, dissolution or separation. This is an important factor as it can stop one partner from vindictively preventing a divorce and therefore locking their spouse within an unhappy and unhealthy relationship, which is often a method used by domestic abusers.

What Else Has Changed?

The new law has also introduced a new minimum time frame of 20 weeks between the start of proceedings and when individuals may apply for a conditional divorce order. This provides more time to reflect on the decision and to potentially turn back. For couples who do not wish to reconcile, it offers time to make arrangements for other aspects of their lives, including childcare and financial settlements.

The aim to make divorce more accessible is also being addressed through the simplification of language used in divorce proceedings. For example, conditional and final order will be used in place of decree nisi and decree absolute. The petitioner will now be named as the applicant for a divorce.

How Can our Divorce Lawyers at Eaton’s Help?

Here at Eaton’s, our team of specialist divorce lawyers are accommodated to these new changes and are well-equipped to assist you with your divorce proceedings.

Whether you are registering for divorce, have received a divorce application or are simply looking for support and guidance, we are here to help.

Contact us today!