Today is the three-month count down until no-fault divorce is introduced in England & Wales. Kate is joined by Isabel Syred from Her Majesties Courts and Tribunal Services (HMCTS) with an exclusive no-fault divorce update on exactly what will change when the new law is introduced this April.
Isabel is the Service Manager for Divorce and Financial Remedy, she has worked for HMCTS for 35 years and her background is mainly in family and civil work. She has worked on Divorce and Financial Remedy specifically for the last five years and moving the process from paper to digital. The digital products currently are well established digital uptake is 89% for people doing their divorce themselves and the majority of solicitors are also using the digital services.
- The new no-fault divorce legislation is on schedule to take effect on the 6th of April 2022 and will replace the current fault-based system
- The last opportunity to use the current system will be on the 5th April 2022 at 23:59 and the online transition between the systems will be seamless
- You will still be able to submit your application for divorce by post, however, if you wish to apply before the new laws take effect you will need to be mindful of postal delays
- The current facts supporting that your marriage has broken down irretrievably will be removed. These are; adultery, desertion, two years separation with consent, five years separation and unreasonable behaviour
- There will be a change in terminology from decree nisi and decree absolute to conditional order and final order to reduce the legal jargon
- You will be able to petition jointly, removing the need for the acknowledgement of service if a couple choose to do this
- You can still make an individual application for divorce, however, the respondent has up to 14 days to respond to this
- Due to the 20 week cooling-off period between the issue date and the conditional order divorces will likely take a minimum of 30 weeks
- Civil partners will be able to use the new online system to dissolve their civil partnership, which is not currently available at the moment
- There shouldn’t be an impact on existing cases
- Expect further updates from HMCTS in February 2022