The introduction of ‘no-fault divorce’ in April 2022 under the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 was a milestone in family law.  

Previously, spouses who wanted to separate had to cite reasons that involved blame, such as adultery and unreasonable behaviour, when filing for divorce or continue being legally married to their partner until a certain time had passed. 

This fault-based system was accused of creating unnecessary conflict between couples, and the process could be costly and time-consuming. 

Under the new law, the requirement to prove specific facts and lay blame at the other party’s door has finally been removed. 

The ground for divorce remains the same: the irretrievable breakdown of the relationship, but there is no longer the requirement to prove the facts of adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, two years’ separation with the consent of the other, or five years’ separation. 

A divorce can proceed on the basis of ‘no-fault’, meaning couples can now divorce more amicably, saving both stress and time.  Parties can issue proceedings jointly, or individually. 

The new no-fault divorce rules are the same for ending a marriage through a divorce and terminating a civil partnership through a dissolution. In England and Wales, you must have been married, or in a civil partnership, for at least a year to be able to apply for a divorce or dissolution. 

You must follow a set legal process, which generally takes at least six months.   

In this article, our specialist divorce solicitors explain how to obtain a no-fault divorce. 

  1. Seek specialist legal advice. 

Getting a divorce, or deciding to dissolve a civil partnership, can be overwhelming. An experienced family law solicitor will ensure you receive the specialist advice, guidance and support you need. 

A divorce is only the legal end to a marriage. Making arrangements for any children and agreeing on financial affairs and property must be done separately. 

Family law solicitors have extensive experience in helping clients navigate the many aspects involved in the divorce process and will ensure you receive a fair settlement that is in your best interests. 

At Langley Wellington, our divorce solicitors in Cheltenham and Gloucester have the knowledge and experience to help, regardless of your situation.  

The earlier you can seek advice, the better. To find out more about how we can help, or to speak with one of the team, call us on 01452 521 286 (Gloucester) or 01242 269 998 (Cheltenham) or make an online enquiry

All calls are confidential. 

  1. File a divorce application. 

To start divorce proceedings in England and Wales, you must make an application online via HMCTS Divorce Portal. 

One party can do this or, if both of you agree that the marriage has ended, you can file a joint application.  

A copy of the marriage certificate must be uploaded on the Court portal and an application is completed containing a statement of irretrievable breakdown of marriage.  

In the event of a joint application, the application then enters a 20 week “cooling off” period.   

In the case of a sole application, the other party will be served by the Court and is required to file a response seven days after service. 

After the 20-week cooling off period has expired a Conditional Order can be applied for. This is the first stage of the divorce. 

The 20-week cooling-off period was introduced under the no-fault divorce laws to give couples time to consider their decision and make relevant arrangements concerning children, property and finances. 

At this stage, if a financial agreement has been reached, the Court is able to approve a Financial Remedy Order and where appropriate order a financial clean break. 

  1. Final Order. 

Once your Conditional Order has been granted, you must wait at least six weeks and one day before applying for a Final Order.  

Once the court issues your Final Order, your marriage or civil partnership is officially over. 

Divorce Solicitors Gloucester and Cheltenham 

The breakdown of a relationship can be extremely daunting, with important decisions about child arrangements, finances, and property to be made. 

Our experienced and reliable family law solicitors at Langley Wellington will guide you through the divorce process and support you every step of the way. 

Regardless of the complexity of your family circumstances or dispute, our specialist matrimonial law team in Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds have the knowledge to assist. 

We will carefully explain your options at each stage and ensure you are clear on the costs involved. 

Our family law services include the following: 

To speak with a member of our team today, please call 01452 521 286 (Gloucester Office), 01242 269 998 (Cheltenham Office), email lawyers@langleywellington.co.uk or fill in this contact form

We can also provide specialist legal advice on other areas of law that may be relevant when dealing with a divorce or separation, such as Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Estate Planning and Conveyancing. 

This blog is not intended to be taken as advice or acted upon. If you are seeking legal advice, please get in touch with our team of solicitors.