How much understanding is there about no-fault divorces

Before April 2022, when the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 was enacted, a divorce relied on one spouse in a marriage finding grounds for divorce resulting in the other taking the blame for the relationship failing. The grounds of adultery, desertion, separation and unreasonable behaviour were the main grounds for a divorce that had to be presented to the court. This often led to animosity when there previously was none, making separation much more difficult. It has only been in recent months that couples in the UK have been able to acquire a no-fault divorce under a new law enacted recently, although many people are still unaware of this change.

In 2021, around 113,500 divorces were granted in the UK, which is almost a 10% increase from the previous year. With no-fault divorces now available, will this rate of divorce increase? And how much knowledge does the British public have surrounding divorce law in the UK?

Click on the links below to jump to that section:

Discover more about what a no-fault divorce is and why they have been introduced

Find out more about how you can apply for a blameless divorce

How much does the British public know about the availability of no-fault divorces?

Here are the various benefits associated with a no-fault divorce

Here’s how we can assist you

We answer some frequently asked questions

What is a no-fault divorce?

The no-fault, or "blameless," dissolution of marriage has been available in various countries for a number of years, but has only recently become law in the UK. Its purpose is to grant a divorcing couple a more streamlined, amicable approach to the legal dissolution of a marriage. Previously, couples had to refer to one of five grounds for divorce; adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, two years of separation with consent, and five years of separation without consent. Now, couples no longer have to place blame on either spouse and can separate cordially.

Couples no longer have to prove these reasons in order to secure a divorce, and can instead state that their marriage has broken down due to irreconcilable differences. Despite the belief that blameless divorces make separation easier, 60% of people in the UK say that they are unaware of no-fault divorces, highlighting the need for more information. If you would like to find out more about blameless divorces, you can get in touch with our solicitors here.

How has no-fault divorce law changed the process of divorce?

There are a few key changes to be aware of now that no-fault divorce has been enacted. “Decree Nisi" and "Decree Absolute" have changed to a "Conditional Order" and "Final Order" respectively, and the couple can either make a joint divorce petition if they both agree that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. Alternatively, a sole petition can be made if one partner does not agree.

Sole and joint applications for divorce can be submitted online, where only the names and addresses of both spouses are required, alongside the marriage certificate. If a sole application is made, the court will send a copy of the divorce application to the other spouse, who then has 14 days to send an acknowledgement of service back to the court.

Although you can apply for a no-fault divorce online, it is best to seek advice from a qualified family law and divorce solicitor who can talk you through divorce proceedings and ensure that everything is done correctly.

Are blameless divorces easily accessible?

No-fault divorces are relatively easy to acquire, providing that both spouses agree that the marriage has broken down. They can easily be applied for online, or the couple can seek help from a divorce solicitor to help them make the application.

With so many people around the country unaware of the existence of blameless (no-fault) divorces, it demonstrates the need for more information. In fact, 85% of people believe more information should be provided regarding UK divorce law.

an infographic showing the main statistics from a survey concerning the no-fault divorce law

What are the benefits of a no-fault divorce?

Lawyers, lawmakers and members of the public alike have agreed that blameless divorces pose several benefits. No-fault divorces mean that as blame no longer needs to be placed, it decreases stress and animosity amongst couples where previously the parties objected to being blamed under the former divorce law. No-fault divorce cuts down lengthy court proceedings that were often seen previously in acrimonious divorces.

Some marriages simply end when two people fall out of love and decide that they no longer want to be with each other; no-fault divorces allow them to divorce quickly and amicably without placing unnecessary blame.

However, it has been argued that the easier divorce process will encourage couples to give up on their marriage rather than try and repair their marriage and use divorce as a last resort.

How Giambrone and Partners can help you with your no-fault divorce

It is clear that more information needs to be provided in order to inform individuals of the new terms that blameless divorces provide. If you are considering a divorce, or you would like more information on no-fault divorces and legal services, you can get in touch with a divorce lawyer here today.

Divorce proceedings can be difficult; seeking expert family law legal advice could reduce the emotional toll that the divorce process takes, relieving you of extra stress and ensuring your divorce is carried out smoothly and efficiently.

Common queries

How long does a no-fault divorce in the UK take?

The minimum period is 20 weeks from the application having been issued until the ‘conditional order’ can be made, followed by a further six weeks for the final order.

How much will a no-fault divorce cost?

The court fee in the UK to issue a divorce application is currently £593. How much you pay in legal fees can depend on the solicitor you choose and the quality of their services.

How are assets divided in a no-fault divorce in the UK?

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 applies only to the divorce procedure. There is no change to the financial arrangements and process of dividing assets when compared to a traditional divorce. Most assets acquired during the marriage are considered joint material assets, with some notable exceptions, both former spouses attempt to split the assets through mutual decision, if this cannot be decided between themselves then alternative dispute resolution (ADR) such as mediation should be attempted. When both spouses agree to the division of assets, this will be signed as a financial settlement and made legally binding by obtaining a consent order from the court.