What are the grounds for starting divorce proceedings?
Historically, couples wanting to separate in the UK would have to rely on one or more ‘facts’ to prove that their relationship has irretrievably broken down. These facts are:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Two years’ separation with the Respondent’s consent
- Five years’ separation
This meant that from the outset, couples were either blaming in each other, or in limbo, waiting at least two years before being able to set foot on the path to finality. That is no longer the case.
From April 2022, the new law on ‘no-fault divorce’ in the UK, which was originally announced in February 2019, will bring long-awaited reforms to an area of law that has not changed since 1973.
How will no-fault divorce work?
The new legislation will:
- Keep the sole ground of irretrievable breakdown of the relationship.
- Remove the requirement to establish one or more facts to prove irretrievable breakdown.
- Update the divorce language, for example:
- ‘Decree Nisi’ will become a ‘Conditional Order’
- ‘Decree Absolute’ will become a ‘Final Order’
- ‘Petitioner’ (the person submitting the application) will become the ‘applicant’
- Introduce joint applications where the couple both agrees that the relationship has irretrievably broken down (applicants will still be able to submit a sole application if their partner does not agree)
- Remove the ability to contest a divorce, dissolution or separation.
- Introduce a new minimum period of 20 weeks from the start of proceedings to when the ‘Conditional Order’ can be made.
- Keep the 6 week period between the Conditional Order and when the Final Order can be made.
How much will no fault divorce cost?
The present divorce petition fee is £593, which is payable to the court. Legal fees will be in addition and depend upon how much assistance a person feels they need in managing the divorce process.
How long will a no fault divorce take?
- A minimum 26 weeks.
- There must be 20 weeks between the start of the application and conditional Order, and 6 weeks and one day minimum between conditional Order and final Order.
How we can help?
Our specialist divorce solicitors can help you facilitate a divorce using the new legislation without having to apportion blame. One of these is an innovative service called Separating Together which allows couples to separate using the same lawyer.
We are always transparent about our fees so there are no hidden costs or nasty surprises along the way. In many cases we can offer you a fixed price, so you know exactly what to budget for.
Get in touch with our divorce solicitors by giving us a call or filling in our online enquiry form.
AS Solicitors is based in South East London within close proximity to the London Courts and to specialist London barristers in the Inns of Court with expertise in family law issues. We are increasingly the choice for clients living in South East London.
T: 020 8318 4345
Divorce Solicitors and Lawyers in South East London, Lewisham, Lee Green, Hither Green, Greenwich, Blackheath, Eltham.