No Fault Divorce

Justine Soper as published in The Connection Magazines

September 2021

The Government has finally set
the date when No Fault Divorce will come
into effect – disappointingly it is not until
6 April 2022 when previous indications
had been it would be with us around
now, in the Autumn of 2021.

The Government has finally set

the date when No Fault Divorce will come

into effect – disappointingly it is not until

6 April 2022 when previous indications

had been it would be with us around

now, in the Autumn of 2021.


The Ministry of Justice has said the extra

time is to update the online divorce

process that now deals with the majority

of petitions issued.


Whilst it is good news that we have the

date now, we have had to contact a

few of our clients who had decided to

wait for the new procedure and so

had anticipated getting that underway

this year.


One way or another, the delay will have

a major impact on them as either they

will have to continue to put their lives

on hold or potentially a “fault based”

petition will be issued.


Previous Legal Lines have highlighted

the long campaign by Family Lawyers

and other professionals who work in

the family law field, to have No Fault

Divorce be made into law.


In particular, that the main focus of a

divorcing couple should be on

establishing their ongoing co-parenting

arrangements for their children and

seeking an agreed outcome to their

financial division.


Starting that off by effectively making

one of them point the finger of blame for

the relationship breakdown at the other

(given the type of divorce petitions

presently required under current

law) is not, by any measure, a good

start and frequently just draws “the

battle lines".


The new legislation will:

• Replace the present “five facts”, one of

which has to be used to prove the irretrievable

breakdown of the marriage (including e.g. 

unreasonable behaviour); with a new 

requirement to provide a  statement of 

irretrievable breakdown only


• Removes the possibility of contesting

the divorce


• Introduces an option for a joint

application – i.e., both parties

signing the statement of irretrievable

breakdown and requesting the divorce


• Change “legalese” into plain English –

“Decree Nisi” and “Decree Absolute”

will be replaced with “Conditional

Order” and “Final Order”.


The law will also apply to the dissolution

of civil partnerships.


It is anticipated the new law will reduce

conflict and so allow couples to more

easily work together to resolve important

issues for their children as well as

themselves; leading hopefully to earlier

resolution and so allowing the family as

a whole to move on more swiftly from

the breakdown of the relationship.


The effect of conflict on children and

adults, in particular their mental health and

wellbeing, is of course well documented.


If you need any advice or assistance

concerning relationship breakdown and

the issues arising from that concerning

your children and/or financial

issues, get in touch with myself,

Justine, on 01252 726741, or justine

@jlssolicitors.co.uk