The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act: what does it mean?

On Wednesday 6 April 2022, the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act (2020) came into force allowing married couples to divorce without assigning blame. The ‘no fault divorce’ as it’s also known, received Royal Assent back in June 2020, and represents a key reform of the law on divorce.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act simplifies the process for divorce, allowing applications to be made online. Under the new legislation, the process should be completed within six months of the date of issuing the application and once the ‘divorce order’ has been issued, the applicant can apply for a conditional order of divorce which replaces the Decree Nisi after 20 weeks have elapsed. This time period is intended to give the couple time to consider and potentially withdraw their application should they wish. The parties would then only need to send a statement to the court and apply for a ‘final order’ which replaces the Decree Absolute, thus confirming their intention to divorce.

The legislation will enable both parties to issue the divorce application either jointly or by one of the parties and removes the opportunity for the respondent to defend or contest the divorce application except in very limited circumstances.

Although the legislative changes will allow many to issue divorce applications independently, we would strongly suggest you speak to a family solicitor who can assist you with your financial separation. Not only would this save additional stress in the longer term, but it would ensure that the financial ties between you and your spouse are severed following your divorce. Failing to deal with the financial separation would mean that your ex-spouse could make a financial claim against you in the future, irrespective of how many years have passed since your divorce was concluded. We are currently offering a free, initial telephone consultation.

To discuss the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act further or for advice on a family law matter, please contact the Grant Saw Family department via email or call us on 020 8858 6971.