No Fault Divorce

No fault divorce came into effect in England and Wales on 6 April 2022 and this has been the most significant change to divorce law since 1969. The introduction of no fault divorce means that couples can get divorced without one person needing to lay blame on the other.

Gill Scales, Director in charge of the Family department commented:

“  The granting of a final order in the no fault divorce process does not automatically end a couple’s financial commitment to each other, so it’s important that the couple’s finances are dealt with at the same time as the divorce. Unless steps are taken to resolve  financial claims at the time of divorce, one party can  make a financial claim against the other after getting divorced “

Here Gill explains the differences between the old system and the new system.

1. Divorce can be granted without one person blaming the other

The most important element of no-fault divorce is, of course, the removal of fault or blame from the divorce process. Under the new laws, couples can get divorced solely on the basis that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

2. Couples can apply for divorce jointly

Under the old divorce laws, one person needed to issue divorce proceedings against the other. Under the new no fault divorce system, the application can either be made by one person (called the applicant) as a sole application or both parties can make the application jointly.

3. Divorce terminology has been updated

The person applying for the divorce is now called the applicant, instead of the petitioner. The decree nisi is now called the conditional order and the decree absolute is now called the final order.

4. There is a minimum timeframe of 26 weeks between the application and final order

This ‘period of reflection’ gives couples an opportunity to reflect and work through their differences before committing to a divorce or civil partnership dissolution.

5. There is an alternative to divorce for couples

Another option for couples, instead of divorce, is to enter into a separation agreement. This is a written agreement that outlines the terms of the separation but doesn’t legally end the marriage or civil partnership.

5. It is no longer possible to contest a divorce

This is one of the most significant changes to come out of the divorce law reforms.

Under the new divorce system, a divorce or civil partnership dissolution can only be contested on the basis of jurisdiction.

6. The old divorce process in England and Wales

To be granted a divorce in England or Wales, the court needs to be convinced that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, to a point where it can’t be saved.

Under the old divorce system, unless a couple lives separately for at least 2 years and both consented to the divorce , they could only get a divorce if one person blamed the other for the irretrievable breakdown of their marriage.

At Liverpool Legal we have highly experienced, friendly and qualified lawyers dealing with family and relationship law. We will always work in partnership with you and in your best interests.

For further information, please contact Gill on 0151 702 5400 or click here to send an email to, alternatively you may enter your details on the contact form.

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Gill Scales became a salaried partner in E. Rex Makin & Co in 2005. She is a salaried partner in LLS Limited. Gill has headed up the Family Law Department in E. Rex Makin & Co and now LLS Ltd since 2005 and has continued to deal with all aspects of family law including children, divorce, domestic violence and most particularly financial remedy proceedings. For the last 7 years Gill has dealt exclusively with privately funded children, divorce and financial remedy work in which she specialises.