On 6th April 2022, the law on divorce was reformed by the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020. In order to divorce your spouse, there is no requirement to provide evidence of either parties’ conduct or prove that you have been separated for a specific period of time. There is simply one requirement, and this is to provide a statement to the court to confirm that the marriage/civil partnership has irretrievably broken down. The court requires no further evidence in order to make a Divorce Order.
Your spouse is not able to defend your decision to proceed with a divorce/end the civil partnership, however, they may ‘dispute’ the divorce on very limited circumstances, i.e. that the marriage is not valid or they believe the court does not have the jurisdiction to deal with the divorce.
The divorce process can now be started online and the key stages involved are as follows:
- Firstly, you will be required to decide whether to proceed with a joint or sole divorce application.
- If proceeding with a sole application, the divorce application will be submitted to the court and served upon the Respondent (your spouse) by post or email.
- The Respondent (your spouse) should return to the court, the Acknowledgement of Service confirming that they have received the Application and on what date, and to confirm whether or not they will be disputing it. They should do this within 14 days upon receipt of the application.
- If proceeding with a joint application, the content of the application will be required to be agreed with your spouse (who will be Applicant 2 rather than the Respondent) before being submitted to the court.
- Where a joint application is submitted, each party will still need to file an Acknowledgement within 14 days to confirm that they have received the notice of proceedings.
- Once the Application has been issued, you will be required to wait for a minimum period of 20 weeks until you are able to make your Application for Conditional Order, and this can either be done on a sole or joint basis (if the original application was a joint one).
- Once the Conditional Order has been pronounced you can make your application for the divorce to be finalised (the Final Order) after a further period of six weeks (or a later date if you prefer). The Application for a Final Order can be made on a sole or joint basis again (if the application for a Conditional Order was made jointly).
Due to the new law, a divorce takes a minimum of six months, but this can be longer depending on how co-operative each partner is and how long it takes to resolve any financial issues as it is often appropriate to resolve the financial aspect of your divorce before finalising the divorce process.
Contact us today for more information or to book your free initial consultation.
Last Updated: Tuesday 3rd January 2023
FIND OUT MORE