No-Fault Divorce: Guidance from NJP Solicitors

The landscape of divorce law in England and Wales has undergone a fundamental transformation. As of April 6, 2022, the no-fault divorce system, a change long-awaited and campaigned for, is now in effect. At NJP Solicitors, we’re here to guide you through these changes, ensuring a smoother, more straightforward process in your divorce or civil partnership dissolution.

No-Fault Divorce System: What’s Changed?

New Terminology:

‘Divorce petition’ is now ‘divorce application’, and the ‘petitioner’ is the ‘applicant’. The other party remains the ‘respondent’.

‘Decree nisi’ becomes ‘conditional order’, and ‘decree absolute’ is now ‘final order’.

Eliminating the Divorce Blame Game:

The requirement to assign blame for the marriage breakdown is removed. Previously, proof of adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, or a period of separation was needed.

Now, a statement of irretrievable breakdown is sufficient and accepted by the court as conclusive evidence.

Joint Divorce Applications:

For the first time, couples can jointly apply for a divorce, with a statement from both parties confirming the marriage breakdown.

No More Defended Divorces:

With the court accepting the statement of breakdown as conclusive, it’s no longer possible for the respondent to defend against the divorce.

Mandatory Reflection Period:

A 20-week period for reflection is introduced from the start of proceedings to the application for the conditional order. This aims to provide time for consideration and planning, especially concerning children and financial matters.

The final order can only be applied for six weeks after the conditional order, making the minimum duration of a divorce 26 weeks.

Civil Partnership Dissolution: Similar but Different

The dissolution of a civil partnership follows a similar process to divorce, with the primary difference being the terminology used. While a marriage ends in a divorce, a civil partnership is dissolved.

A New Chapter in Family Law

The no-fault divorce represents a significant shift, removing the need for blame and potentially reducing acrimony. This change is hoped to foster a more amicable process, aiding couples in reaching agreements on crucial matters like child arrangements and financial settlements.

At NjP Solicitors, we’re prepared to assist you through this new divorce or civil partnership dissolution process. To book an appointment and discuss how these changes affect your situation, reach out to us at 01952 618656 or email enquiries@njpsolicitors.co.uk.