The proposed legislation removing fault from the divorce process has reached the finishing line of its parliamentary journey, although couples seeking a no-fault divorce will still have to wait until Autumn 2021.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, which passed into law on 25 June 2020, will introduce “no fault” divorce in England and Wales for the first time.

The new law is the biggest shake up of divorce laws for 50 years.

Under the current law, there is no way for couples to start the divorce proceedings immediately without making accusations about the other’s conduct which only exacerbates tensions.

Introducing “no fault” divorce will cut unnecessary conflict allowing couples to move on as amicably as possible.

In the future, spouses will be able to apply for a “Divorce Order”. This will dissolve the marriage on the ground that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. Neither spouse will have to demonstrate the irretrievable breakdown by relying on one of the old blame-based facts, therefore removing the “blame game”. Under the new system, the parties need only send a statement to the Court which will be treated as conclusive evidence of the irretrievable breakdown. It will still be possible for one spouse to apply for a divorce, however, the new legislation will permit couples to jointly apply to the Court for a divorce and separate as amicably as possible, and without apportioning blame.

The new law

The new law will also stop one partner contesting a divorce if the other wants one, which in some cases has allowed domestic abusers to exercise further coercive control over their victim.

The new procedure has been simplified and modernised, making it easier to understand the process. The process will still involve the two stages of Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute. However “Decree Nisi” will become a “Conditional Order” of divorce and “Decree Absolute” will become a “Final Order” of divorce.

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If you require any advice in relation to divorce proceedings please do not hesitate to contact any of our specialists at any one of our offices at Lincoln, Boston, Sleaford, Grantham and Newark or email


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