‘Divorce Day’ Postponed with New Law Set for April
Changes to divorce law mean that ‘Divorce Day’ is thought to be postponed from its usual January date, as couples decide to wait until new changes in the law in April mean that neither one will have to accept fault for the divorce.
What are the Changes?
From April 2022, a new ‘No-fault’ divorce will come into place in UK law, that will allow couples to divorce without the need to ‘point fingers’ and lay blame on one particular person. There is currently only one legal ground for divorce, that ‘the marriage has broken down irretrievably, which must be proved by one of five reasons:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Two years’ separation with consent
- Five years separation without consent
The change will mean that both partners can apply for a divorce and cite irretrievable breakdown as the cause, but with no fault attached. Couples will be able to make either an individual or a joint statement and will not require either person to present evidence of bad behaviour. This change can allow for more positive situations in divorce, especially if there are children involved.
Additional changes that have happened during Covid-19 mean that divorce proceedings are altered. Divorce applications can now be made online and courts are also conducting more remote hearings. Online divorces have now been possible since 2018 when HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) launched an online portal for family legal services. From the 4th October 2021, the use of this online divorce portal has become mandatory.
How Can I Start Divorce Proceedings?
Although you could in theory handle your divorce by yourself, it is always best to get a professional involved to avoid problems further down the line. Our specialist divorce solicitors can help you throughout the whole process of your divorce proceedings. The general process of a divorce involves:
- The person or persons seeking a divorce files a divorce petition by filling in a divorce petition form.
- The court sends a divorce petition and other documentation to ‘the respondent.’
- Acknowledgment of service. This is where the respondent replies to the court by sending a completed acknowledgement of service form.
- The court send a copy of the acknowledgement of service form to the petitioner/applicant.
- If the respondent opposes the divorce, then they have 21 days to complete and send the court an answer to the divorce petition form.
- The petitioner can apply for a decree nisi – this is a ‘request to proceed.’ It could include several different statements, depending on the grounds for divorce.
- Before the judge proceeds to decree nisi, they will first issue the ‘certificate of entitlement’, which is a letter from the court confirming that they approve your divorce application. A decree nisi means that they can see no legal reason for the divorce not to go ahead.
- After waiting for six weeks and one day after the decree nisi has been granted, the petitioner or applicant can apply for a decree absolute. This is the official legal document that will end the marriage.
- This is the last stages of the divorce and marks the end of the marriage in legal terms, although you may want to sort out financial issues and arrangements for the children.
Read more on our divorce solicitors page.
This new change in the law could mean a different way of divorcing for many people. If you need legal support throughout your divorce, then our specialist solicitors can help you throughout the process.
Get in touch today for expert help and advice with your divorce.
All advice is correct at time of publication.