No-Fault Divorce

Do you and your partner want to file for divorce but don’t want to blame the other person using any of the standard ‘five facts’ as grounds for divorce?

If your marriage has irretrievably broken down, but there are no single or multiple reasons where you can blame one partner for their actions or behaviour, from April 2022 you can file jointly for a ‘no-fault divorce’.

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What is a no-fault divorce?

For many years, people have argued that the current divorce legislation in England is outdated, because it relies on the ‘blame game’, which fosters an unhealthy environment of one partner having to prove that the other partner’s behaviour contributed to the breakdown of the marriage. This required the identifying of one or more of the ‘five facts’ as grounds for divorce. These are:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Desertion of two years
  • Separation of two years with consent to divorce
  • Separation of five years

Current divorce laws require the person filing for divorce to prove one or more of the above have taken place, when this might not necessarily be the case or where you don’t want to blame the other person but want to get divorced now.

In June 2020 the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill received Royal Assent and this will come in to law in April 2022. This effectively allows for a ‘no-fault divorce’ to be applied for, which means that couples no longer need to blame the other by proving one or more of the five facts, and only need to provide a joint statement of irretrievable breakdown.

How is a no-fault divorce different?

Couples can now jointly file for divorce, using  no-fault divorce, rather than one partner serving divorce papers on another. In addition, people no longer have to wait two years to get a divorce when they don’t want to blame the other person for the breakdown of the marriage.

This change should promote a more conciliatory approach,  with the focus on finding a resolution more quickly and painlessly, rather than being distracted by apportioning blame and the negativity that can trigger.

How is a no-fault divorce the same?

Getting a no-fault divorce will still require a six month period before a couple can obtain a final divorce order, so it will not be much quicker than the current process.

Crucially,  the couple will still need to agree on a financial settlement, i.e. the division of assets (including property and possessions), savings, pensions, maintenance etc. and to stop either party from trying to claim a financial settlement many years after the divorce has taken place.

Divorcing is never easy, but no-fault divorce will rely more on the trust and judgment of the separating couple who know best of all whether their marriage has broken down.

Contact Harrogate Family Law for expert help on no-fault divorce

Our family law expertise has helped many separating couples find a mutually agreeable settlement in a timely fashion and with minimal emotional distress. We can compassionately and professionally advise on the process required and how best to find a settlement that suits everyone, particularly where children are involved.

If you and your partner have naturally drifted apart and have made a joint commitment to seek a divorce, contact Harrogate Family Law today and we can take steps towards processing a no-fault divorce and avoiding any unnecessary upset and distress.

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