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"No Fault" Divorce - is it ready?

View profile for Gail Strange
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No fault divorce was introduced by the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020.

Its introduction has been keenly awaited and after several delays it will finally come into force on 6 April 2022.

As with all family lawyers, the family team at Biscoes have attended courses and learned the implications of the new rules.

The Act will see an end to the need to give a reason for the breakdown in a marriage, aiming to reduce the potential for conflict and for the first time allowing divorcing couples to jointly apply for a divorce.

But despite knowing in 2020 that the law was going to change, and with the new laws coming in in a matter of weeks, we have still not seen what any of the forms will look like and, more importantly, we do not know whether the online divorce system will be updated to accommodate the changes.

In April 2018 the Online Divorce process was introduced, but as with many systems it had teething problems and many people preferred to use the traditional “paper” process. Many of these problems were ironed out over the next few years and in September 2021 it became mandatory for any divorce petition issued by a solicitor to be done via the online system.

Any divorces falling outside the norm – for example where the respondent did not acknowledge the petition or there were queries arising from the petition itself – were transferred to the paper system and issued in one family court at Bury St Edmunds. This has led to huge delays and the backlog at the court is continually building.

With over 8,000 petitions being issued each month using the online system, many family lawyers are starting to worry about whether No Fault Divorce will be compatible with the online system and if not, what the implications will be for those that issue in paper form.

Those that have waited for the new law to come in before issuing their divorce petition may want to wait a bit longer to see whether the systems are in place for the new process.

If you need advice contact Biscoes on 023 9266 0261 or through our website at and speak to one of our experienced Family Lawyers who can guide you through your options and advise you on the divorce process and any financial settlements.