“When your marriage has broken down, it can be a traumatic experience. If you also consider all of your matrimonial assets including pensions, property and the impact it may have on any children, it would be pragmatic to seek professional legal advice.”

You may or may not be aware, but as part of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, ‘no-fault divorce’ has replaced our out-dated divorce process in the hope of better reflecting today’s modern relationships and irradicating the blame culture associated with getting divorced.

This reform in divorce law has been campaigned for for over 50 years; it has been heavily criticised for being outdated, inciting blame and anger as well as hindering people in controlling or abusive relationships from finding a safe and legal way out of marriage. The new divorce law goes some way to protecting people who are desperately unhappy or at risk of harm as well as protecting any children from the marriage from unnecessary anguish.

The flip side of this is that not all couples break up acrimoniously; many couples who want a divorce part on good terms; they have just grown apart and want different things from life. Moving away from a ‘fault based’ divorce means that no proof of wrong-doing is needed on either side.

Who can apply for a divorce?

Either party can apply singularly for a divorce, or you can apply jointly by providing a statement that
the marriage has irretrievably broken down. There is no requirement to make allegations or give
details of misconduct; the Divorce Application, previously known as the Petition, is based on the
statements alone.

Can a no-fault divorce be contested?

The short answer is no. Under this new process there is no option for the other party to oppose the
divorce. A major reason for this change is that previously, by opposing the divorce domestic abusers
were allowed to exercise even longer coercive control over their spouse. The only way a divorce can
be disputed is on jurisdictional grounds where the validity of the marriage or civil partnership is in

How long does it take?

From the initial application to finalisation takes around 7 months. There is a deliberate statutory
delay between the date of issue of the Application and the Application for a Conditional Order
(previously the Decree Nisi) for several reasons:

    • This gives both parties a meaningful period of time for reflection to ensure they are making
      the right decision.
    • They can halt the divorce process and remain married if they change their minds.
    • They have extra time to make future plans for any children or agree financial settlements.

Do you need support?

Here at Arlingsworth Solicitors, we understand how upsetting a marriage breakdown and
subsequent divorce can be, especially when matrimonial assets and child arrangements are involved.
We are experienced in how to help someone going through divorce by providing professional and tailored, sympathetic advice around emotional situations and complex family and financial issues.

We specialise in providing first-class legal support on all aspects of divorce and our dedicated team of experts are on hand 24/7 to provide professional legal advice and guidance.

Please contact our Brighton office on: +44 (0) 1273 696962 or our London office on: +44 (0) 203 3580058. Alternatively, request a callback, or email info@arlingsworth.com. You can also follow us
on social media for any other important news and updates.

The information in this blog is intended for general information only. It is up-to-date at the time of writing. However, it does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated or relied upon as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.