No Fault Divorce Procedure
What is the process for divorce?
Since 06 April 2022 “no fault divorce” has been possible. There is no longer the need to be separated for 2 or 5 years or to make allegations of fault against your spouse.
Divorce applications can be made jointly with your spouse, or a sole application can be made if you prefer. It is not possible for your spouse to defend the divorce proceedings and the divorce cannot be finalised sooner than 26 weeks after the divorce application has been issued by the court.
The words we use to describe the divorce process have changed, there is no longer a divorce petition, but a divorce application. There is no longer a petitioner but an applicant. The Decree Nisi has become a conditional order and the Decree Absolute is the final order.
Some other useful terminology may make understanding the process simpler:-
- Issuing an application is the process by which the application is given a case number by the court and formally becomes an application.
- Service is the act of sending the divorce application to the other party.
- A respondent is the person being divorced, where the application is by one party only.
The divorce process is slightly different, depending upon whether it is a joint or a sole application. This Q&A will deal with digital applications only.
Joint application for divorce
- Applicant 1 completes the application for divorce and uploads the Marriage Certificate to the online system.
- Applicant 2 will receive an email asking them to review the information and provide any additional details
- The application will then go back to applicant 1, who can review any amendments made by applicant 2 and, if the amendments are agreed, submit the application to the court.
- 20 weeks after the court has issued the joint application both applicants can apply jointly for a conditional order.
- Alternatively, one applicant can apply for the conditional order solely.
- 6 weeks after the conditional order is made, both applicants can give notice to the court for the conditional order to be made final, as long as the application for a conditional order was made on joint application.
- Alternatively, even where the application for a conditional order was joint, 6 weeks after the conditional order is made, one applicant can give notice to the court for the conditional order to be made final. Sole notice can only be given to the court, after giving 14 days’ notice to the other applicant.
As can be seen from the steps above, there is scope for a joint application to be progressed by one applicant only. It is not therefore possible for one party to change their mind, after the issue of the application and stop the divorce from continuing.
Sole application for divorce
- The applicant completes the application for divorce and uploads the Marriage Certificate. The court will issue the application. The application is served on (sent to) the spouse, the respondent to the application, either by the applicant or the court.
- Where the applicant is serving the application, they must do so before midnight on the calendar day 28 days after the date of issue of the application.
- Where the court is serving the application, an email link will be sent to the respondent. The link will allow the respondent to view the application and acknowledge service. The respondent will also be sent a notice by post.
- If no email address has been provided for the respondent, the court will send the application to the respondent in the post.
- After the application has been acknowledged and 20 weeks has passed since the issue of the divorce application, the applicant can apply for a conditional order.
- 6 weeks after the conditional order, the applicant can apply for the final order.
The purpose of the 20-week delay between issue of the application and being able to apply for the conditional order is to give the parties time to reflect and to resolve child arrangements and financial matters.
The final order does not have to be applied for at week 26 and an application for a final order too early can have an adverse impact on financial matters. It is crucial to take advice on the timing of the application for the final order.
RLK Solicitors have experienced family law solicitors able to advise upon the factors most relevant to your circumstances and how these should be taken into account. A realistic approach often saves both time and money.
Our Edgbaston office is a short distance from Birmingham City Centre, Five Ways train station and local bus routes. We have free parking, on-site, or nearby and can offer video appointments for those further afield or who cannot come into an office.
Our Kings Norton office is a short distance from Kings Norton and Northfield train stations and local bus routes. We have free parking, on-site, or nearby and can offer video appointments for those further afield or who cannot come into an office.
RLK Solicitors have offices in Edgbaston and Kings Norton in Birmingham, easily reached from Acocks Green, Alvechurch, Balsall Heath, Barnt Green, Bartley Green, Bournville, Cotteridge, Digbeth, Druids Heath, Frankley, Handsworth, Handsworth Wood, Harborne, Headley Heath, Hollywood, Hopwood, Kings Heath, Ladywood, Longbridge, Maypole, Moseley, Northfield, Rednal, Rubery, Selly Oak, Selly Park, Shirley, Solihull, Stirchley, Walkers Heath, Weoley Castle, West Heath, Wythall and Yardley Wood.