The law relating to divorce has changed dramatically with the introduction of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 which came into force on 6 April 2022.
After many years of support for the introduction of a no fault divorce system and to recognise that sometimes, people’s relationships change, the law has been amended. The new law also applies to the dissolution of civil partnerships.
The position is now
- Spouses do not need to prove that their relationship has broken down seeking to rely on one of the 5 facts; it is sufficient for one or both spouses to sign a statement confirming that the relationship has broken down irretrievably.
- The divorce cannot be resisted, except in rare circumstances
- New terminology has been introduced, the decree nisi will now be known as the conditional order and the decree absolute known as the final divorce order.
The petitioner is now the applicant.
- The timeline has been amended to allow a 20 week period of reflection and this period begins when the statement of irretrievable breakdown is filed with the court. The purpose of this is to allow couples the opportunity to seek counselling and to try to find a way to move forward with agreement.
After the Conditional Order is granted, there is a further 6 week period before the Final Divorce Order is granted, bringing the marriage to an end.
The majority of divorce applications will be filed electronically via the HMCTS online system.