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No-Fault Divorce

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By Caroline Keeley

The new and welcomed ‘no-fault divorce’ legislation for obtaining a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership in England and Wales comes into effect today.

The new system removes entirely the element of blame from divorce proceedings, with the intention of reducing conflict and allowing both parties to shift their focus to other important matters, such as the financial elements of their separation and arrangements for children.

The key changes

The parties simply make a statement that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. This can be done as a sole application by one party or a joint application together.

Responding parties will no longer be able to contest the divorce proceedings on the reasons given for divorce. This should provide some comfort to the applying party who may otherwise be worried about the response of a former partner.

Another significant change is that the new legislation provides for a minimum time period of 20 weeks from the start of the proceedings to when the conditional order (formerly decree nisi) can be made. In practice, this will mean that the parties have to wait at least 6 months before their divorce or dissolution is finalised. While this is unlikely to be problematic for many people, as often this time will be used in the process of negotiating financial arrangements, and / or discussing long-term arrangements for their children, but for anyone wishing to conclude their divorce / dissolution and finances more quickly, they may well find there is a delay.

How TWM can help you

If you would like further information or advice in respect of divorce or dissolution, then please contact the specialist Family Law team at TWM for a confidential meeting, and we will guide you through the process.

For further details about our expertise in this area, please click here.