6th April 2022: No fault divorce introduced
Ministers have announced that the divorce, dissolution, and separation act of 2020, will now allow married couples to divorce without assigning blame.
Currently, there are 5 reasons you can give for getting a divorce:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Living apart for more than 2 years (with agreement)
- Living apart for more than 5 years (without agreement)
Can be used when your spouse has sexual intercourse with someone else of the opposite sex. Interestingly, if your spouse has sex with someone of the same sex, this does not count as adultery. It must be sexual intercourse, and cannot be just kissing.
Getting a divorce because of adultery must be done within 6 months of finding out. You also must be the ‘innocent’ party to file for divorce and use adultery as the reason. But if you have both committed adultery, either party can file for divorce.
This reason can be used in two different ways.
Firstly, the reason when there is no real reason for the divorce e.g. the couple has simply drifted apart and no longer wants to be married.
Secondly, when unreasonable behaviour has occurred, this could be domestic violence, drunkenness, lack of support in maintaining a household.
Overall the reason for unreasonable behaviour is rather low, but there must be factual evidence to support the claims. Plus like above, the incident must have occurred less than 6 months prior to filing for divorce.
If your spouse has left you without a good reason and they do wish to end the relationship, you may be able to use this reason. They must have left you for over 2 years within the last 2 ½ years.
Living apart for more than 2 years (with agreement)
If you have lived apart for at least 2 years, and you both agree to get divorced, this can be used.
Living apart for more than 5 years (without agreement)
If you have lived apart for more than 5 years, you can file for divorce even if your spouse does not agree.
‘No fault Divorce’
The new ‘no-fault divorce’ will come into force on the 6th April 2022 and will change the divorce process for people in England and Wales. The main change is the removal of the requirement to prove the ‘irretrievable breakdown’ of the marriage, where one of the 5 reasons above. This breakdown of the relationship can be proved by both or one party, which is signed by one or both parties.