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No fault divorce explained
No fault divorce explained

Use this information as a guideline for the divorce procedure since the court staff can only offer legal advice and point out which choices are best for you, but they simply process your paperwork through the court.

There's a lot to understand when it comes to getting divorced, especially since England and Wales have their own rules regarding divorce that differ from Scotland and Northern Ireland.

We break down the divorce procedure into four categories so that you can understand it in simple terms.

From April 6, 2022, you may use the new divorce system to file a no-fault divorce.

The divorce procedure has altered and with it the legal terminology. This page will help you understand the no-fault divorce process and how these changes might affect your divorce application.

Before you can start divorce proceedings in England and Wales, you must have been married for at least 12 months. Let’s look more closely at the 4 main stages of the no-fault divorce process.

Find our more about no fault divorce over at the family law firm.

1. Start a Divorce Application

Based on an irreparable breakdown in the marriage, one person starts a divorce by submitting a divorce application to the court.

The first divorce law required individuals seeking a divorce to provide evidence of one or more of five facts to show that their marriage had irrevocably broken down; 3 are founded on ‘fault' and 2 are based instead on a period of separation.

A no-fault divorce does not need you to give any reasons for the irreparable breakdown of your relationship.

2. Acknowledgement of Service

The next stage in the divorce process is for your spouse to receive a copy of the divorce petition and an acknowledgment of service (AOS).

After you have completed the AOS and given it to your partner, he or she has 14 days to complete and return it to court.

20-week Reflection Period

A new minimum period of 20 weeks has been introduced between the commencement of proceedings and confirmation to the court that a conditional divorce order may be granted.

The so-called ‘reflection period' allows for greater preparation and agreement of practical arrangements concerning the future where reconciliation is not an option and divorce is unavoidable.

The following are critical issues that you should discuss with your attorney: child custody and/or visitation, as well as any money or assets.

3. Application For the Conditional Order

You're asking the court to continue with the divorce at this point.

4. Court Reviews Your Application

If your divorce application is accepted by the court, you will receive a Certificate of Entitlement to confirm the date and time of your temporary order. It will take a few weeks.

5. The Courts Grants The Conditional Order

At this point, the court has given you a divorce, which gives you a six-week cooling-off period before applying for the final order.

This period is intended for couples to submit their financial consent order to the court for approval.

6. Application for Financial Order

Couples who have had a solicitor prepare a financial consent order for them can now apply to the court for permission.

If you submit the financial order at this stage, it is very likely to be granted as part of your ultimate order (formerly Decree Absolute).

This will prevent the other party from making any future claims and will terminate all financial ties.

7. Application For Final Order

To legally dissolve your marriage, submit a petition to the court.

8. The Court Grants The Final Order

The final order (decree absolute) will usually be granted within 24 hours. You can obtain a divorce by filing the appropriate paperwork with the court.

In the most basic of circumstances, a divorce in England and Wales will take around 6-7 months.

Following a divorce, it's important to sort out your finances

Following a divorce, many couples struggle with how money and assets should be divided.

The "matrimonial pot," which is the total amount of money and assets you and your spouse brought into the marriage, may be considerable and lucrative, or it might only be a tiny fraction of what you entered into the marriage with.

If you've agreed to split any cash, property, or retirement income, you must get a financial court order from a solicitor.

If you and your partner have no joint money, assets, or children within the marriage (as is often the case in short marriages), you may be able to obtain a clean break order, which will prevent future claims against either of you.

How long does a no-fault divorce take to complete?

In the most basic of circumstances, a no-fault divorce procedure will take approximately 6-7 months. Unfortunately, because divorce is a legal process, there is no precise time frame for how long it would take to complete.

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