Guide to No Fault Divorce.

Your Guide to No Fault Divorce.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 has brought a number of changes to the procedure divorcing couples must go through in order to end their partnership.

The Act was put into effect on 6 April 2022.

It can be tough to grasp the process, bureaucracy, and terminology, especially when going through the emotional distress brought about by the decision to separate. So, we have devised a simple guide for you to understand every step of the process, and our expert team of authorised and regulated divorce lawyers in Shropshire, Herefordshire and North Wales are available to support you through the procedure.

Contact us today through the enquiry form on this page or call our offices for a friendly and confidential chat.

How Has the Divorce Process Changed?

It is no longer necessary to demonstrate that the marriage has irretrievably broken down by proving one of the five previously necessary criteria. Prior to April 2022, divorcing spouses would have had to prove at least one of the following five facts:

  • Adultery, (with a member of the opposite sex which previously discriminated against LGBTQ+ couples)
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Desertion
  • Two years of separation, where both parties agree to the divorce
  • Five years of separation, where the other party’s consent is not required

The Court would review the evidence and could reject a divorce petition if it deemed the evidence not to be sufficient to support the case. The respondent (the opposing party to the petitioner) could also contest the petition, leading to long, complex, and emotionally draining legal processes.

Now though, one or both parties can start the divorce proceedings with no requirement for blame, and no evidence is required to support the statement of irretrievable breakdown. The “five facts” above have been swept away and replaced simply by the requirement in the “application” to state that the marriage or civil partnership has broken down irretrievably.

The Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute have been relabelled Conditional Order and Final Order respectively but remain largely comparable. A six week wait still exists in between these steps, but a 20-week reflection period is introduced between the initial application and the Conditional Order. This time could be used to resolve financial and children issues.

What Are The Benefits Of No Fault Divorce?

Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Dominic Raab said:

“The breakdown of a marriage can be agonising for all involved, especially children. We want to reduce the acrimony couples endure and end the anguish that children suffer.”

It is clear that the aim of the new legislation is to make divorce, dissolution, and separation easier and less painful. The hostility brought by the end of a partnership can have detrimental effects on the spouses’ future relationship and can negatively affect children in cases where they are involved.

The reform has been delayed for some time – partly because of pushback based on concerns that the Act would make divorce too simple and quick, degrading the sanctity of marriage – but the Coronavirus lockdown in 2020 and 2021 proved the old method was ineffective.

Couples forced to spend longer periods of time together were brought to the point of a breakup, but the two and five year former separation periods had become impractical.

Most separating couples do not wish to exacerbate an emotionally distressing situation by having to collect evidence and prove facts such as adultery or unreasonable behaviour, but many were resorting to these facts to progress with a divorce. The new divorce laws make it easier for couples who have mutually decided to divorce, to do so.

The new legislation effectively brings the acrimony associated with blaming spouses under the old criteria to an end. Where an agreement to bring the partnership to an end exists, a joint application can also be submitted, in suitable circumstances. The ultimate aim behind the changes is to make the process quicker, simpler, and less litigious.

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The No Fault Divorce Process

Make a divorce application

Since the introduction of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, individuals or couples are able to submit a divorce application to a family court without the need for the spouse’s consent. This will include a statement of irretrievable breakdown but requires no blame for either party.

Acknowledgement of service (AOS)

In the case of sole applications, the other party must respond within 14 days with an Acknowledgement of Service (AOS), which states they have received a copy of the divorce petition.

Twenty weeks reflection period

The newly introduced reflection period takes place following the receipt of the AOS. This time should be used to resolve disputes, especially regarding children and financial matters. Resolving disputes earlier in the process will facilitate the production of consent orders – for example, a Financial Order. Our team of expert Divorce Solicitors in Herefordshire, Shropshire and North Wales can help you through these negotiations with expert guidance or referral to mediation where appropriate. Contact us today.

Application for conditional order

Following the reflection period, the applicant(s) may confirm proceedings. This is necessary to continue the process with the production of a Conditional Order (previously named Decree Nisi).

Court review and conditional order

The Court will review the application and issue a Certificate Of Entitlement to confirm the date of the Conditional Order. Because contesting a divorce is not possible in the same way it was prior to 6 April 2022, this process is simple and usually takes a few weeks. It should be noted that applications can be rejected in rare cases, such as the Court concluding a marriage is not valid. The issuing of a Conditional Order starts a six week wait period before an application for a Final Order can be made.

Financial order

These six weeks can be used to submit an agreed Financial Consent Order to the Court.

A Financial Consent Order can be advised about, negotiated and then, if agreed, drafted for you by one of our Divorce Lawyers. Its purpose is to confirm the financial agreement reached and/or prevent future claims being made by either party regarding financial matters. If you had a Financial Order drafted and submitted during this period, it is usually approved and granted at around the same time as your Final Order.

Final order

In theory, your Final Order can be issued within 24 hours of application for it. This legally ends the marriage or partnership. Sometimes, parties agree to hold off applying for the Final Order whilst the terms of their financial agreement are being agreed and drafted, to preserve Inheritance and Widow(er)’s pension entitlements in the meantime. We can advise you if this is recommended in your case.

Testimonials

What our clients say.

I would not hesitate to recommend LB Solicitors to anyone needing guidance and representation for family law or divorce proceedings. My solicitor was thorough and diligent, balancing professional rigour with fairness, reasonableness and sensitivity. I feel this approach helped me to obtain a satisfactory settlement avoiding costly and unnecessary conflict.

Jon
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Since dealing with Lanyon Bowdler they have been diligent, efficient and at all times very helpful along with being structured in dealing with matters, fees and clarity on all levels. Thank you.

Michael
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I was clearly informed of progress step by step. The service you provided was very good.

Peter Weston
Shrewsbury

All work carried out effectively and efficiently.

Hubert Jones
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An excellent service with solicitors that you can talk to and who give you a clear understanding of all necessary legal implications and interpretations.

Eric
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From start to finish we had excellent service. Friendly, approachable and professional.

Carl Gittins
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Used Lanyon Bowdler for conveyancing and for legal advice – both solicitors I worked with were effective and professional. Law firm was fast and responsive to queries and clear pricing.

Samantha
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Very clear, concise advice and guidance, easy to understand.

Ian Jamieson
Telford

Good service provided throughout with clear communication throughout with all options explored.

Lee

I was impressed with the forensic approach to identifying, securing, assessing and presenting evidence over the two years that it took to finally resolve the issue.

Timothy
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I can thoroughly recommend the highly professional and supportive service received over the last few months.

Heather
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Lisa Thacker

Professional and prompt communication. Supportive and client focused.

Lisa Thacker
Jennifer M Whittall Ltd

Whenever I have had need to contact Lanyon Bowdler I have always received a fast, concise and friendly response.

Lee Mortimer
UK Case Management

Definitely would use Lanyon Bowdler again if I need the use of a solicitor.

Mark Bowkett
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Smooth and efficient service from very professional firm.

Tim
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We were particularly impressed with the quality of work, the speed and excellent communication.

Allenby Douglas Ltd
Oswestry

Very friendly and approachable. Very good advice

Ivor Brown
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Great Service; Lanyon Bowdler were excellent from the outset. Straightforward and easy process. I just sat back and waited.

Paul Rowe
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Everything has been professional, efficient and courteous throughout and we are very pleased, both with the service and with the eventual outcome of our case. Everything was first class and exceeded our expectations. Thank you again for providing such splendid service. It is really appreciated.

Mr N J & Dr S J Browne
Llanfyllin

How Can a Solicitor Help me with a No Fault Divorce?

While the basis for seeking a divorce has been made much simpler by the introduction of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, family lawyers still have an important role to make sure the best outcome can be reached for you. Our team of Divorce Specialists can help you through the process by:

  • Representing you through negotiations and proceedings where necessary
  • Producing legal documents such as Financial Consent Orders
  • Implementing Court, Consent and Final Orders
  • Advising you on agreements over finances and children issues
  • Representing you in a Court case where necessary
  • Representing you in a Collaborative Law approach to resolving divorce, financial and children issues

Even with new and simpler legislation, divorce cases can rapidly become complex, and it is imperative to seek the best legal advice when going through a divorce, dissolution, or separation to make sure your interests are protected.

Lanyon Bowdler is recognised as one of the region’s leading family law firms by the 2024 edition of The Legal 500, a national guide that recommends legal practices. The guide states:

‘Lanyon Bowdler has a strong reputation for its work on the full gamut of complex issues involving financial remedy, children and divorce. It is skilled at handling cases where there are business structures and trusts. On the children side, the group frequently advises on internal and external relocation cases, domestic violence and cases involving significant welfare issues.’

Contact the Divorce Solicitors at Lanyon Bowdler

Lanyon Bowdler has numerous lawyers who are members of the Law Society’s Family Panel and an Accredited Specialist with Resolution, a national organisation of family lawyers, so you can be sure our solicitors are experienced in all aspects of Family law.

Our divorce lawyers are approachable and professional, and will always adopt a balanced and practical approach to negotiations, minimising conflict and working towards an acceptable outcome for you.

Our aim is to achieve amicable resolutions swiftly, but if litigation is necessary, we have the experience and know-how to deal with the courts effectively.

Please give us a call for a friendly, confidential, chat about how we can help support you when you or your family need legal advice and representation. Please contact a member of the team or complete our online enquiry form on the right-hand side of this page.

By choosing Lanyon Bowdler for family law legal advice, you can rest assured that you have the best legal expertise on hand no matter what the situation. We are committed to providing exceptional levels of client care and will work closely and considerately with you to help find the best outcomes. Our Family Law Solicitors team has great experience in all areas of family law, collaborative law, and referrals to family mediation.

We are able to act for clients throughout Shropshire, Herefordshire, Mid and North Wales and across the Midlands (including Wolverhampton & Birmingham). As a leading full-service law firm, we can represent you wherever you live in England or Wales.

Our people

Meet the team.

Sue Hodgson
Sue Hodgson
Partner
Family Law
Jon Moriarty
Jon Moriarty
Partner
Family Law
Philippa Pearson
Philippa Pearson
Partner
Family Law
Georgia Rowney
Georgia Rowney
Legal Assistant
Family Law
Lizzie Cross
Lizzie Cross
Trainee Solicitor
Family
Mia Williams
Mia Williams
Trainee Solicitor
Family Law
Anne Lewis
Anne Lewis
Associate Legal Executive (FCILEX)
Family Law
Lisa Grimmett
Lisa Grimmett
Associate Solicitor
Family Law
Caroline Yorke
Caroline Yorke
Associate Solicitor
Family Law
Fiona Cooper
Fiona Cooper
Legal Assistant
Family Law
Rachel Tomley
Rachel Tomley
Solicitor
Family Law
Erin Payne
Erin Payne
Paralegal Apprentice
Family Law
Staci Robinson
Staci Robinson
Associate Solicitor
Family Law
Laura Jones
Laura Jones
Solicitor
Family Law
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