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No Fault Divorce

What is no fault divorce?

After being announced in 2019, no fault divorce came into effect in England and Wales on 6th April 2022.

No fault divorce means that individuals seeking to end their marriage or civil partnership no longer need to blame each other for the breakdown of their relationship.

How does no fault divorce put an end to the ‘Blame Game’?

Under the previous law, separating couples had to choose one of the below 5 reasons to divorce:

  • 2 years separation
  • 5 years separation
  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Unreasonable behaviour

With the new no fault divorce law, we leave behind the fault-based system of blaming one party for the breakdown of the relationship, and now couples no longer have to rely on one of the 5 reasons mentioned above to get divorced. The new law puts an end to the blame game and allows parties to take a more constructive approach to separation.

Another key change to the legislation is that it is no longer possible to object to an application for a marriage or civil partnership to be brought to an end.

Why did the previous divorce law need to be reformed?

Previously, separating couples could only get divorced without blame if they had been separated for two years and if both parties agreed to the divorce, or five years if one refused.

The previous system did not allow for couples to get a blame-free divorce without waiting for these periods of time to pass and if they wished to separate sooner, one party had to “take the blame”, which may have caused acrimony between separating couples and increased tensions unnecessarily.

Am I eligible for a no fault divorce?

Anyone entitled to a divorce in England and Wales will be now be able to apply for a no fault divorce.

How will no fault divorce work in practice?

  • The previous ‘Decree Nisi’ is now a ‘Conditional Order’ and ‘Decree Absolute’ has become a ‘Final Order’.
  • The ‘Petitioner’ (the person submitting the application) has become the ‘Applicant’.
  • The requirement to establish one or more facts to prove an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage has been removed.
  • The change has introduced joint applications when both couples agree that the relationship has broken down.
  • Neither party is able to object to a divorce or separation.
  • The change has introduced a minimum 20-week period from the start of the proceedings to when the ‘Conditional Order’ can be made.

Are any two cases the same?

No, whether you are part of a heterosexual marriage, same-sex marriage, or civil partnership, we tailor our service to your individual needs and match you with the specialist who will be best suited to handle your case.

Our divorce lawyers have a vast amount of experience, knowledge, and expertise who can advise you on the most cost effective and efficient way to proceed with a divorce. We are members of Resolution, an organisation committed to best practice, and we aim to always work in a non-confrontational and cost-effective way.

Where do I go for advice on no fault divorce?

We offer a free initial 45-minute consultation to give you the opportunity to meet us and receive some initial divorce advice regarding your circumstances. During this appointment, we will seek to understand the reasons for the breakdown of the marriage and discuss the various options available to you.

If saving the marriage is unlikely, we will seek to understand more about you and your partner's income, savings, assets, and pension arrangements, so that we can begin to think about finding a solution to your future financial needs. If you have children, we will also talk about options for their future arrangements.

Free, no obligation consultation

If you would like to speak with our no fault divorce lawyers regarding your current situation, we offer a free 45 minute consultation to give you the opportunity to meet us and receive some initial divorce advice regarding your circumstances.

Please contact our divorce lawyers today on 01491 630000 (Henley on Thames), 0118 418 1000 (Reading Head Office), 0118 418 1200 (Reading Central), 01256 584000 (Basingstoke), 01483 370100 (Guildford), 01494 629000 (Beaconsfield), 01344 513000 (Ascot), 01635 785 100 (Newbury), 01962 587900 (Winchester), 0204 599 7400 (Richmond) or email info@kjsmith.co.uk.

We also serve a wide range of other areas including Abingdon, Bracknell, Gerrards Cross, Maidenhead, Marlow, Oxford, Slough, Wokingham, Pangbourne, and High Wycombe.

Our Office Locations

All our offices are easily accessible by road, rail or bus and we are open Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 6:00pm. With today's busy schedules, we offer telephone appointments outside normal office hours until 9pm on Thursdays and between 10am and 3pm on Saturdays.

Not sure which office is closest to you? Try our Office Finder.

If you would like to visit our team of family solicitors, we have offices in Henley-on-Thames, Woodley, Reading (Head Office), Reading (Central), Basingstoke, Guildford, Beaconsfield, Ascot, Newbury & Winchester. We serve a wide range of other areas including Abingdon, Bracknell, Gerrards Cross, Maidenhead, Marlow, Oxford, Slough, High Wycombe and Wokingham.

Why not contact our team of divorce solicitors for a free initial consultation today? We offer a free initial consultation that can take place in any one of our offices or over the telephone.

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Whether you are considering a move now or at some point in the future, we would love to hear from you and learn more about your career goals and motivations.

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Kulbir Rahi

Kulbir Rahi

Partner at our Ascot office

"I joined K J Smith with an open mind and with the expectation of developing and adding diversity and challenge to my career, having spent 23 years in a comfortable position with a traditional high street practice.

I can honestly say that K J Smith have exceeded my expectations. Since joining, I have felt supported and encouraged by the firm’s continued commitment to growth and improvement. The company allow staff at all levels to have a voice and recognise the importance of investment in their employees at every level."

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To find out how we can help you, please contact us for a free initial consultation. Call or email, we will be happy to speak to you about your options and how we can help.