Personal Law
April 4, 2022

The Divorce, Dissolution & Separation Act 2020

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 has been referred to as the biggest reform of Divorce Law in England and Wales for 50 years. It removes the requirement to establish one of the five 'facts' contained in The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 to establish irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, and will now allow married couples to divorce without assigning blame, or having to rely on one of the five 'facts'. This has become known as the 'no fault divorce'.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 comes into force on 6 April 2022, replacing the existing Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, which has required one party to prove their partner is at fault through adultery, desertion or unreasonable behaviour, with the only alternative being a period of separation: two years where both parties agree to divorce, or five years if one side does not consent.  

'No Fault Divorce'

The new Act allows married couples to issue divorce proceedings jointly, and without assigning blame, as only a statement of irretrievable breakdown will be needed. The Court, in dealing with an application, must take the statement that the marriage or civil partnership has broken down irretrievably at face value and will make a Divorce Order or Dissolution Order, and will not look into whether the irretrievable breakdown has been proven. The aim of the changes is to reduce conflict between couples who are either married or are in a civil partnership.

The Act introduces a minimum period of six months from initiating divorce proceedings to when the final order can be granted.

The legal terminology used for divorce proceedings at present has also been updated. Petition will become 'Application'. 'Petitioner' will become 'Applicant'. 'Decree Nisi' will become 'Conditional Order' and 'Decree Absolute' will become 'Final Order'.

We're Right By You

Our team of friendly family solicitors are here to advise on matters relating to the divorce or dissolution process and can deal with the application on your behalf and in accordance with your instructions. Advice should always be sought in relation to potential applications for financial orders prior to the commencement of the divorce or dissolution application.

You should always seek legal advice before obtaining your final divorce or dissolution order as this could have a significant impact on your financial rights. By way of example, you might lose rights under your former partner’s pension in the event of their death after divorce as you would no longer be their spouse or civil partner.  It could even have an impact on your rights to continue to live in your family home in the event that the property was held in the sole name of your former partner.

Need to talk to us?

Our friendly family team are here to assist on matters relating to divorce and separation. Please get in touch on 01892 526344 or email For further information on all our Family Law services, please click here.

Fixed Fee Appointments - £100 + VAT

We offer an initial one hour fixed fee appointment with one of our experienced family solicitors for £100 + VAT. This gives you the opportunity to talk your matter through with a solicitor, get their advice and then consider your options before deciding how to progress your legal matter. Please get in touch if you feel this type of appointment would be beneficial.

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.

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