How will No Fault Divorce work?
Emily Pope

How will No Fault Divorce work?

On 6th April 2022, the Government will be implementing no fault divorces for the first time. A new service has been set up ready to ‘go live’ at 10am that day.

Family Solicitor, Emily Pope, answers the questions you may have if you are considering a no-fault divorce:

Who can apply for a no fault divorce?

Either party to the marriage can apply for a no-fault divorce, but it is also possible to file a joint application. This would involve one of you starting the application form and the other party reviewing the information provided and confirming they are happy with it.

What is the new procedure?

The new procedure is very similar to the old system, but there is lots of new terminology to help people understand the process. The process is broadly as follows:

  1. The Applicant (or applicants, in the case of a joint application) prepare an application for divorce and send it to the court to be issued.
  2. For joint applications, your spouse (the second applicant) will be consulted prior to the issue of the application. For sole applicants, your spouse will be sent an email inviting them to login to the digital service and they will also receive a notice in the post informing them that they should have received an email.
  3. The Applicant(s) must wait a minimum of 20 weeks before applying for a conditional order (formerly decree nisi) which is the first stage of divorce. This is to allow a period of reflection so that parties can be sure they would like to divorce.
  4. 6 weeks after the conditional order is made, the Applicant(s) can apply for a final order (formerly Decree Absolute) finalising the divorce.

Can I still claim my costs?

Under the new system, an Applicant will have to make a separate application for recovery of costs – this will not be included on the divorce applications.

Can we each still instruct our own solicitors?

Yes – each party to the divorce (even on a joint application) will be able to instruct a solicitor of their choosing.

If the new system is more user friendly, do I still need a solicitor?

The system has been designed to help those people who do not wish to use solicitors to access the service. However, we would always recommend seeking legal advice before starting a divorce application. A solicitor can help you to understand the process, ensure that you are not taking any step which is likely to prejudice you financially in future and generally advise you in relation to the finances arising from your divorce.

Can we reach an agreement about our finances?

The process for applying to court for a financial settlement remains the same. Parties will have to make a separate application to the court, either by consent where matters have been agreed, or to start the court process where matters are contested. Where agreement has been reached, we can assist you in drawing up that agreement into a consent order which can then be filed with the court during your divorce.

Regardless of your circumstances, our team of experts can assist you in working out the most sensible way of obtaining a divorce in your circumstances and helping you to negotiate or draw up an agreement in relation to your finances. You can consult us at any stage of your separation. If you would like advice and support regarding your separation, contact our Family Law team today on 0330 0945 500, email or complete our Online Contact Form and we'll get back to you.