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We have a team of specialist Family Solicitors who can offer advice and assistance in all area of divorce. We will look at three areas with you:-
Despite the breakdown of the marriage we will try to deal with the divorce as simply and as amicably as possible. Most clients can achieve this with our help. This keeps the divorce procedure straightforward, uncontested and reduces costs. Every client’s circumstances are different and we will listen to you and give advice and assistance which will meet your particular concerns. We will advise you as to the appropriate ground for divorce and deal with the matter for you to Decree Absolute. This will normally take between 4 to 6 months to deal with and if agreed, neither party will have to attend any Court hearing.
What is a No-Fault divorce?
No Fault divorce was introduced by the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 and came into force on 6 April 2022. The introduction of No Fault divorce removes the concept of “fault” and “blame” from the divorce process.
It is hoped that doing so will reduce conflict between separating parties and allow couples to focus on the important issues such as children, property and finances.
The new Act also applies to the dissolution of civil partnerships.
What is the aim of No-Fault divorce?
The aim of No-Fault divorce is to simplify the old divorce process and make it less contentious.
The breakdown of marriage is an emotive time. The current need to show that one party is at “fault” can result in a ‘blame game’ and conflict. These, in turn, lead to excessive involvement from solicitors and higher costs.
By removing the requirement of “fault” it is hoped that there will be an increased likelihood of resolving matters outside of Court and that a more collaborative and efficient approach between couples and their legal representatives will be encouraged.
How does a No-Fault divorce differ to previous ways to divorce?
No-Fault divorce removes the need for a party to prove the marriage has irretrievably broken down based on one of the ‘five facts’ of divorce – Adultery, Unreasonable behaviour, Desertion, Two years' separation with consent or Five years' separation without consent.
Under the old law, even where a couple had made a mutual decision to separate, one spouse was forced to make accusations and provide evidence about the other’s conduct before a divorce could be granted.
The new changes simply require a sole or joint statement by one or both spouses that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and cannot be saved.
No Fault divorce also removes the ability of one spouse to contest the divorce. If one spouse wants a divorce, they can obtain this even if the other objects (except in very limited circumstances).
Terminology has also changed to simplify the process - Decree Nisi is now a Conditional Order and Decree Absolute a Final Order of divorce.
The new law has also introduced a new minimum time period of 20 weeks from when the application for divorce is made to when a Conditional Order can be made.
This period of reflection for the parties provides time for the possibility of reconciliation or time for the parties to agree practical arrangements around separation such as matters relating to the children or finances.
Who can apply for a No-Fault divorce?
Anyone who is entitled to a divorce in England and Wales can apply for no fault divorce. Generally, you can get divorced here if you or your spouse live or are domiciled here. You don’t need British citizenship and you can get divorced in England or Wales even if you were married in another country.
Parties can either make a sole application or a joint application for divorce.
A Joint Application can be converted to Sole Application. However, a Sole Application cannot be converted to Joint Application.
How do I get a No-Fault divorce?
The process under the new law is broadly as follows:
- a single or joint application for a divorce order made in which one, or both parties will give notice that the marriage has irretrievably broken down by completing an application;
- 20 weeks after the application has been issued by the court, the applicant(s) confirm that they want to proceed with the divorce;
- the court will then make a Conditional Order;
- 6 weeks later, the court can make a Final Order which brings the marriage to an end.
How long does a No-Fault divorce take?
Based on the above process, a no fault divorce should take around 26 weeks, however it is anticipated that administration and processing time may lengthen this timeframe.
What does No-Fault divorce not change?
No Fault divorce does not change the way in which the court looks financial issues, the division of assets or issues relating to children. These matters will be dealt with in the same way they were before the new law came into force.
How much does a No-Fault divorce cost?
The court fee to issue a divorce application is currently £593 in England and Wales. If you instruct a solicitor to deal with the process for you this may be done at an hourly rate or on a fixed-fee basis.
The Arrangements for any Children
We will help you to try and agree all the arrangements for the children after the divorce. In particular agreement needs to be reached as to which parent the children will live with and how often the children see the other parent . In many cases children now spend almost equal time with each parent. Provided the arrangements are agreed the Court will not interfere and will not make any Orders in relation to the children. If there is a dispute over the arrangements we will try and resolve matters by negotiation first and if that is unsuccessful, by the issue of Court proceedings. In dealing with these disputes, the welfare of the children is the Court’s paramount consideration.
This area can be difficult to resolve as the family finances have to be divided to provide for two households instead of one. The Court will take into account all the circumstances of the case to try and find an outcome which is fair to both parties and to achieve a clean break between the parties wherever possible. The Court’s priority here again is to ensure that any children are provided for and securely re housed. In most cases we can help you achieve an agreed settlement.
In some cases clients come to us with terms already agreed in which case we can turn the agreement into a Court Consent Order. Once passed by the Court it is final and binding on both parties.
In other cases where terms have not yet been agreed, we will deal with financial disclosure so that we can advise you on the right terms for settlement and then achieve this through negotiation. Sometimes an immediate clean break is not possible and we can deal with ongoing maintenance claims where appropriate. Finally, if a negotiated settlement is not possible we will issue Court proceedings. We will take urgent action if assets need to be protected or if you require urgent maintenance payments for support.
You will have a dedicated named Solicitor acting for you from the start and throughout the conduct of your matter. We offer a quality service with the ability to draw on specialist advice from other divisions at MFG covering property, company, employment and Trust Law when needed. We also work with other experienced professionals where necessary to assist with property and commercial valuations, accountants for company and business valuations and Actuarial advice on pensions. The team also has many years experience in acting for particular professional groups including dentists, doctors, farmers and landowners and cases involving family businesses and partnerships.
We pride ourselves on being friendly and approachable and would be happy to arrange a meeting to discuss your case.
Please note we do not offer a free consultation process on Family matters.