No-fault divorce comes into effect on April 6 2022, and means couples no longer have to apportion blame in order to start divorce proceedings if they haven’t been separated for two years.
The new Divorce Dissolution and Separation Act replaces a law which was over 50 years old and would often create conflict as it required couples to apportion blame unless they were able to wait for a period of separation. Sadly, this would then have a detrimental impact on any children of the family.
The new legislation has these key changes:
- Whilst irretrievable breakdown would remain as the sole ground for divorce, the need to provide evidence of separation or conduct by the other party has been removed and all that is required is a statement confirming irretrievable breakdown.
- It is no longer possible to argue that the marriage has not broken down and there will only be very specific circumstances in when a n application can be argued against.
- It is possible for both of the parties to make an application together, so one person does not have to file the application as was the case with the old law.
- The language used has also been modernised, outdated terms such as Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute have been removed and terms such as Conditional Order and Final Order will be seen instead.
- Although the two-stage divorce process remains, the time scales for obtaining a divorce will broadly be 26 weeks. This is based on a minimum time frame of 20 weeks from the application to conditional order and 6 weeks between Conditional Order and Final Order.