No-fault divorce – where are we one year on?

This month marks the first anniversary of ‘no-fault divorce’ when the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 became effective on 6th April 2022. This change in legislation allowed anyone seeking to dissolve their marriage the ability to apply for a divorce without setting out any reason but by simply submitting their divorce application to the Court based on the statement that the ‘marriage had broken down irretrievably’.


So over a year on, what has been the impact of no-fault divorce?


It was recently reported that applications for divorce rose by 11% last year to 119,709 with 24,273 divorce applications being made between October and December 2022 alone. It was reported that since the new legislation came into effect on 6th April 2022, there were 89,123 applications made, with 78% of which being from sole applicants. There were 21,507 conditional orders made under the new law and 7,453 final orders.

Aaron Keene, Partner and Head of the Family Team at The Wilkes Partnership briefly reviews and comments on the past year and the impact that the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 has had on practitioners and clients.

“There is no doubt many clients were waiting for no-fault divorce to be brought in last April before proceeding to dissolve their marriage, so they could dissolve their marriages more amicably. However, the economic hardships of the last 12 months will have undoubtedly brought strain to relationships and may well lead to more divorces.”

“The no-fault divorce procedure is, however, generally taking longer from the issuing of the divorce application to the final order which is primarily down to two factors. Firstly, the statutory waiting time is 20 weeks before you can apply for a conditional order of divorce from the issuing of the divorce application and 6 weeks and a day to apply for the final order after the conditional order is made; secondly, there are delays with the Divorce Centres processing work.”

“Overall, it does mean we have a more amicable system for Divorce which is very positive and which many clients are dealing with themselves leaving lawyers to deal with the more complex issues of matrimonial breakdown, children and financial matters. Although solicitor costs for dealing with no-fault divorce are generally less than under the old system, the main concern is people handling their own divorces without legal advice and agreeing to unfair financial settlements or unworkable child arrangements. It is still worthwhile and cost-effective to involve expert family lawyers when you divorce, and to consult with them early in the process.”

If you have questions regarding separation or divorce, please contact Aaron Keene at [email protected] or call 0121 710 5947.

  • Aaron Keene

    Aaron Keene

    Partner, Family & Collaborative Lawyer

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