Grounds for divorce

Going through a divorce, or separation, is one of the most stressful activities that you can possibly undertake. MIAMS Mediation is here to help.

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Grounds for divorce

In order to get a divorce you used to need to show why your marriage was coming to an end in a full and final way. In legal terms, this was what what was called “grounds for divorce” With the introduction however of no-fault divorce laws in the UK, you no longer to provide specific grounds for divorce. Simply stating that the marriage has irretrievably broken down is sufficient, making the process less adversarial and more focused on cooperation and mutual respect. The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, which came into effect on April 6, 2022, allows for no-fault divorce in the UK. This means you no longer need to provide specific grounds such as adultery, unreasonable behaviour, or desertion..

No Fault Divorce - The Process

  • Legal Framework:

    The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, which came into effect on April 6, 2022, allows for no-fault divorce in the UK. This means you no longer need to provide specific grounds such as adultery, unreasonable behaviour, or desertion.

  • Irretrievable Breakdown:

    The sole ground for a no-fault divorce is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. To file for divorce, you simply need to state that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

  • Application Process:

    You or your spouse (or both of you jointly) can apply for a divorce by submitting a divorce application to the court. There is no need to assign blame or provide evidence of specific misconduct by either party.

  • Reflection Period:

    After filing the application, there is a mandatory 20-week reflection period. This period is intended to give both parties time to consider their decision and potentially reconcile. During this time, both parties can work on agreements in mediation   regarding financial arrangements, child custody, and other important matters.

  • Conditional Order:

    If the decision to divorce remains firm after the reflection period, the court will issue a conditional order (formerly known as a decree nisi).

  • Final Order:

    There is an additional six-week waiting period after the conditional order before the court issues the final order (formerly known as a decree absolute), officially ending the marriage.

MIAMS Key Points of a No Fault Divorce

No-fault divorce eliminates the need to prove fault or wrongdoing, which significantly reduces the potential for conflict and emotional stress between spouses. Instead of requiring specific grounds such as adultery, unreasonable behavior, or desertion, the only requirement is for one or both parties to state that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. 

This streamlined process makes it more straightforward and often quicker than traditional fault-based divorces, providing a clearer and less contentious path to separation. By focusing on the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, no-fault divorce encourages a more amicable and respectful separation, which is particularly beneficial when children are involved. Additionally, the mandatory 20-week reflection period and subsequent six-week waiting period before the final order allow both parties time to consider their decision and work out agreements on important matters such as finances and child custody.

The benefits of a No Fault Divorce

No-fault divorce offers numerous advantages, primarily by reducing conflict between divorcing spouses. By removing the need to assign blame, it helps to minimize animosity and emotional stress, creating a more supportive environment for both parties to negotiate and reach agreements. 

 

This approach allows couples to focus on mediation on important issues such as financial arrangements, child custody, and other critical aspects of their lives without the distraction and contention often associated with proving fault. Moreover, the reduced emotional toll fosters a healthier post-divorce relationship, which is crucial for the well-being of any children involved. Overall, no-fault divorce promotes a more amicable and cooperative separation process, ultimately leading to more sustainable and satisfactory outcomes for all parties.