No Fault Divorce becomes law today

The long-awaited no-fault divorce process is now law.

No fault divorce will remove the unnecessary acrimony that was associated with lodging divorce papers with the court using the old fault-based system.


Previously, the only way to obtain a divorce was by saying your spouse had committed adultery or had been unreasonable by listing examples of unreasonable behaviour. The other grounds were based on periods of separation or desertion. For many years family lawyers campaigned for this fault-based system to be replaced with something that removed the need to blame the other person in some way before a divorce could be granted by the court.


Statistically, adultery and unreasonable behaviour were the most common grounds for divorce in the UK because a divorce petition must reach a certain stage before a court can approve any financial agreement. Therefore, people didn’t wait to rely on grounds of separation because they needed to sort out the financial issues. Divorce based on adultery and unreasonable behaviour often caused quite a lot of unnecessary acrimony.


This no longer applies. An application for divorce can be made using the online portal. People do not have to use a lawyer to help them with the online divorce paperwork. Couples can now make a joint application for divorce if they would like to. They don’t have to, but this is now possible.


There is then a period of 20 weeks between the initial application and the conditional order, and another six weeks between the conditional and final order. This means that the new divorce process will take at least six months or more to complete, so it is a bit longer than the 3-4months that was possible under the old process.


As referred to above, under the old divorce process, the person applying for a divorce had to set out their spouse’s behaviour or use a period of separation as the reason for the divorce. Their spouse could contest those reasons and potentially prevent a divorce. However, under the new no fault divorce law, the ability to contest a divorce will be removed except for very limited circumstances.


It is important to realise that this new system only changes the paperwork that is needed to obtain a divorce from the court. It will not change how the financial issues that need to be considered upon divorce, or issues about children, are sorted out.


At Family Mediation and Mentoring we are specialists in helping couples sort out parenting plans and their financial arrangements amicably so they can avoid the stress and costs of going to court. We can help people create an agreement that can be set out in a legally binding court order and sent to the court for approval by a Judge so that no one needs to attend court.


If you would like to discuss and understand how the new divorce system works, the paperwork involved and all the options for sorting out parenting plans and the financial issues that need to be considered as part of the divorce process, then book one of our Family Law Information Meetings (FLIM)which you can attend either by yourself or with your partner. Go to our website, you can book a free call or one of the FLIM meetings or email us at

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