Everything you should know about no-fault divorce in the UK

Recently, the new no-fault divorce in UK law was passed. So, from Autumn 2021, individuals will be able to apply for a divorce very differently than before thanks to the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020. It will be down to solicitors to ensure their clients fully comprehend the new law and garner the best result possible. Ensuring clients know how the procedure works and what their rights are is key to ensuring that when they divorce, the process is as smooth as it can be.

Why is the no-fault divorce important?

Allowing couples to divorce without apportioning blame is an important update on previous legislation, given that couples either had to wait two years before they could apply for a divorce, where an individual did not accept blame for the breakdown of the relationship, or they had to apportion blame to the other party. Or worse; in situations where one individual did not agree to the divorce, a couple had to be separated for five years before the other individual could apply to dissolve the marriage.

The alternative - of apportioning blame - was no better. For instance, where an individual did accept blame, they may have had to admit to committing adultery or that their behaviour had become so unreasonable that it was impossible for the couple to continue living together. That's a big admission for people to make and one that many do not want to confess to.

But now, with a no-fault divorce, a couple can start the process of dissolving the marriage without having to wait a number of years nor having to apportion blame. That provides divorcing couples with many new benefits.

What are the benefits of the new no-fault divorce law?

There are a number of benefits to the new no-fault divorce law. Firstly, without apportioning blame to one individual, the whole process may be less contentious and less acrimonious. One of the hopes with this new law is that children are less affected by the process, which can be fraught with emotion at the best of times.

Secondly, it simply makes the process less painful. By not apportioning blame, no one is unduly hurt in dissolving the marriage, again reducing emotional pain for all involved.

Thirdly, by helping to keep a lid on anger and resentment, among many other emotions, the process should be smoother and simpler. The result is that legal costs may be lower as well. Time is spent using lawyers to resolve disputes where the law can be applied - not in a "he said, she said" debate.

No-fault divorce in UK law - key takeaways

The new no-fault divorce in UK law has been welcomed by many in the profession for streamlining the process of dissolving a marriage. Properly outlining how the changes can affect the result of divorce to clients will be highly beneficial to all. It should see divorces become quicker and easier to process, while individuals still get what they are legally entitled to with as minimal emotional and financial stress as possible.