The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 changed the law relating to divorce and dissolution of civil partnerships on 6 April 2022.

Prior to this, the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage was proven by one of five facts:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Desertion for a continuous period of two years
  • Two years separation with consent 
  • Five years separation 

This meant that if you have not been separated for two years, and in the absence of adultery, you had no choice but to petition for divorce based on your spouse’s unreasonable behaviour and, as such, by placing blame. 

How does no fault divorce work?

The introduction of no fault divorce removes the requirement to place blame. You no longer have to provide evidence of unreasonable behaviour or separation. It is now possible to apply for a divorce by providing a simple statement of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage or civil partnership.

No Fault Divorce - Have You Been Reticent to Place Blame 

An end to the blame game 

A welcome change in the law, fault-based divorce applications are no longer required or allowed. You may have been reticent previously to issue divorce proceedings due to the fact that you would have had to place blame on your spouse if you had not been separated for more than two years. You may have found it difficult to cite particulars of unreasonable behaviour and are concerned about how that would have affected the relationship with your spouse, any children, and wider family.

Now that the law has changed with the introduction of no fault divorce, you may now feel that divorcing your spouse will be less acrimonious. As you are not placing blame at the start of proceedings, this should help reduce conflict and allow you to focus on important matters, such as sorting out the arrangements for the children or finances.

It is hoped that the new law will allow separating couples to work together collaboratively and amicably to resolve issues that arise during separation.

How long do you have to be separated to get a no fault divorce?

To apply for a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, you must have been married for at least one year. You can apply for a divorce in England and Wales if you or your spouse or civil partner meet certain resident conditions or are domiciled here.

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