Step-by-Step Guide to No-Fault Divorce


Step-by-Step Guide to No-Fault Divorce

The introduction of no-fault divorce in April 2022 under the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 (Divorce Act 2020) was a defining moment in Family Law in England and Wales.

Previously, couples who wanted to separate had to file for divorce on factors that involved blame, such as adultery and unreasonable behaviour.

This fault-based system received much criticism for creating unnecessary conflict between couples.

Under the new system, there continues to be only one ground for divorce: the irretrievable breakdown of marriage, 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.

That means that couples can now separate more amicably, saving stress, money, and time.

In this blog, our Divorce Solicitors consider the process involved in no-fault divorce and answer some of your frequently asked questions.

What is no-fault divorce?

No-fault divorce was introduced by the Divorce Act 2020 and came into force on 6 April 2022. It ends the need for separating couples to apportion blame for the breakdown of their marriage.

Instead, a spouse or a couple jointly can now apply for a divorce by stating their marriage has broken down irretrievably.

The no-fault rules are the same for terminating a marriage through a divorce and ending a civil partnership through a dissolution. The legal process is the same in both cases.

What are the benefits of no-fault divorce?

No-fault divorce:

  • Removes unnecessary acrimony.
  • Reduces conflict.
  • Stops a partner from vindictively contesting a divorce.
  • Increases privacy.
  • Saves money.
  • Gives couples more time to consider their options.

Who can get a no-fault divorce?

To apply for a divorce or dissolution in England and Wales:

  • You must have been legally married or in a civil partnership for at least a year.
  • Your marriage or civil partnership must be legally recognised in the UK.
  • The UK must be your permanent home or that of your spouse.
  • Your marriage or civil partnership must have broken down beyond repair.

Can I apply for a no-fault divorce if my partner does not agree?

Yes. Under the new no-fault divorce rules, you do not need your spouse’s consent to apply for a divorce. The same process applies.

How do you get a no-fault divorce?

There are four main stages involved in obtaining a no-fault divorce.

  1. Seek legal advice.

Consulting a specialist Family Law solicitor is advisable for anyone considering divorce. An experienced legal professional will ensure you receive the necessary support and guide you through the process.

A Family lawyer can also assist with financial settlements on divorce and help with arrangements for any children. Divorce is only the legal end to a marriage. Agreeing on the division of finances and property and deciding on child arrangements must be done separately.

At Bookers & Bolton, our divorce lawyers have the knowledge and experience to help, regardless of the complexity of your situation.

Our Head of Family Law, Paul Wilson, has practised Family Law for over 25 years and is an accredited Family Mediator. He can work remotely and often meets clients online over Zoom, helping individuals and families with their legal matters in Hampshire and across the UK.

If you are considering divorce proceedings and need legal advice, please contact our experienced Family lawyers to discuss your options. You can call us on 01420 558 295 or email

  1. Divorce application.

The first step in formal proceedings is to complete the divorce application and send it to your Family court. This can be made by one party, or if you and your spouse agree that the marriage has broken down irretrievably, you can make a joint application.

The court will then issue the application and return the papers to you and your spouse. Once these have been received, you must complete and return an ‘acknowledgement of service’.

  1. Conditional Order.

After your divorce has been issued, you must then wait 20 weeks before applying for a Conditional Order. This legal document confirms that the court recognises that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.

  1. Final Order.

After your Conditional Order has been granted, you must wait at least six weeks before applying to the court for a Final Order, which officially ends your marriage.

For more information about the process involved in no-fault divorce and how we can help, read our client guide by clicking here.

How long does it take to get a no-fault divorce?

No-fault divorces take at least six months to complete. Applications for no-fault divorce can be made online or on paper.

How much does it cost to get a no-fault divorce?

In addition to solicitors’ fees, there is a court fee of £593 to apply for a divorce, although you may be able to get help with fees if you are on benefits or a low income. We can help you apply.

Divorce Solicitors Near Me

At Bookers & Bolton, we appreciate that facing divorce, separation, or civil partnership dissolution can be highly emotional and stressful for all involved.

Our specialist Family Law team is committed to finding the right solution for you and your family, focusing on providing an exceptional personalised service.

We advise on all divorce, dissolution of civil partnerships, and separation matters, including:

  • The divorce process.
  • Financial matters.
  • Child matters and arrangements.

We will carefully guide you through the process and tailor our advice to your needs. We always provide legal advice with common sense and empathy.

For more information on how we can help, please contact our Head of Family Law, Paul Wilson, on 01420 558 295 or complete a free online enquiry, and we will be in touch.