No Fault Divorce – postponed to 6 April 2022

by Kayleigh James

In October 2020 we were pleased to report the much awaited news regarding no fault divorce.  The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill had cleared the final stages of parliamentary scrutiny and was set to become reality in 2021.

The introduction of the no fault divorce will no longer be introduced in October 2021 but will instead be introduced on 6 April 2022.

It is anticipated that many separated couples are waiting until they can use the no fault divorce and April is likely to be a busy time for family practitioners.  Many feel that no fault divorce will remove the emotional strain that often comes with the “blame game” of using the fact of unreasonable behaviour or adultery.

The delay is said to be due to changes to the HMCTS online divorce system.

The no fault divorce is not the only change for family practitioners, whilst members of the public can already issue a divorce petition online, this will become mandatory for family practitioners on 13 September 2021.  There are some exemptions from the online system, namely civil partnerships, judicial separation and nullity, which can still be submitted to the courts by paper application after 13 September.

We at BWL see the above as positive steps, no fault divorce should help parties to remain amicable post separation and using the online system will ensure that divorces can be dealt with more efficiently.