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The no-fault divorce; when can you use it?

amicable discusses when couples will be able to use the new No-Fault divorce.

No-fault divorce has been a hot topic in the last couple of months as it finally passed Royal Assent which means that it is now law in England and Wales. However, don’t stop reading just yet, as couples won’t be able to actually divorce in England and Wales until 2021.

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When will couples be able to use No-Fault divorce?

The most likely timing is Autumn, probably October 2021. Rule changes in the government tend to take place in April and October, however in this case there is probably too much to be sorted (the rules, the online process, the forms you’ll need to fill in etc) to be able to implement the new laws in April.

Our guide to divorce and infidelity

What key changes will the new Divorce Laws bring?

  • The current five options to divorce (adultery, unreasonable behaviour, two years separation, five years separation and desertion) will be replaced by the No-Fault option so people won’t have to blame their partner for the breakdown of the marriage/civil partnership.
  • Couples will be able to jointly petition
  • Every couple will have to go through a six-month minimum notification period
  • The language used on the forms will be changed to get rid of archaic language. For example, what is now called a ‘Divorce Petition’ will be called ‘An application for divorce order’, ‘Decree Nisi’ will be changed to ‘Conditional Order of Divorce’ and ‘Decree Absolute’ will be changed to ‘Final Order of Divorce’

Divorce and dissolution; what you need to know right now

What should you do if you want to divorce or end your civil partnership now?

Even though the divorce laws have changed, if you want divorce or end your civil partnership now, you’ll need to choose one of the five reasons or wait until the new laws are implemented.

Do the new Divorce Laws change anything for childcare and or finances?

Who gets the dog in divorce?

No, the new no fault divorce laws only impact the process of divorcing / ending a civil partnership.

Written by amicable – who offer a lawyer-free alternative to divorce through a tech-enabled service. Find out more in The Hug Directory


For more information on No-Fault divorce, click here to listen to Nigel Shepherd recap the key changes and what the new Divorce Laws mean for couples in England and Wales on The Divorce Podcast. Nigel has been campaigning for no fault divorce for over 25 years and was awarded the John Cornwell Award for Outstanding Contribution to Family Law at the Jordans Family Law Awards in 2019.

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