Family Law

Family Law

The new process for "no fault divorce"

From 6th April 2022, the government has introduced no fault divorce and dissolution of civil partnerships.  This means there is no longer any requirement to demonstrate the other party to the marriage/civil partnership is at fault. 

Applications for divorce can also now be started by one or both parties jointly. 

The Court fee is payable at the time the proceedings start (currently £593).

Whilst these proceedings can be made on paper we use the Court’s online Digital Divorce Portal. 

On a joint application we would still only be accepting instructions from one of you. 

Technically the new procedure can allow us to act for both parties that would only be by the old paper system and only where there is no potential for conflicted interests such as would be the case dealing with any financial or child aspects involved.  We therefore would not legally represent both parties, as is in our view, always the potential for conflicted interests such as relate to rights of occupation and pension death in service benefits.  We would therefore in such circumstances in fact be still representing the lead Applicant in the divorce and the other party would still be known as the second Applicant.

If progressing the divorce/dissolution proceedings as a joint application we would not in those circumstances be able to give both parties independent advice.  If the other party had any questions regarding the proceedings or indeed as to the financial aspects or any child arrangements relating to the separation then they would need to seek independent legal advice from their own solicitor. 

Having made the application on behalf of one Applicant or joint Applicants 20 weeks must elapse before it is possible to apply for a Conditional Order (previously known as a Decree Nisi). 

If we were progressing these proceedings on a joint application then we would at this stage ensure both parties wished to proceed.  If that was not the case then the matter can proceed as a sole application after an appropriate period of notice given to the other party who then would become known as the Respondent. 

In either case 6 weeks must then lapse between the making of the Conditional Order and it being possible to apply for a Final Order ending the marriage (previously known as Decree Absolute).

Assuming at this stage there is one Applicant then they may instruct us to apply for the Final Order.  The Respondent would have to wait a further 3 months thereafter to be able to apply for the Final Order.

On a joint application the application for a Final Order is made jointly.  However, if only the lead Applicant wishes to proceed then they need only give the other party 14 days notice of this intention.  The Final Order would then technically be made on their sole application.

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