Divorce can be a difficult and emotional for anyone, regardless of where they live. In the UK, the divorce process has been changed since April 2022, so you must be aware of the requirements that need to be followed. Understanding the divorce process can help individuals prepare for what lies ahead and make informed decisions about their future.

The No-Fault Divorce Law

No-fault divorce enables couples to end their marriage without having to accuse each other for the end of their relationship. It also eliminates the likelihood of one spouse contesting the divorce, which could potentially leave their partner waiting for years to obtain an uncontested divorce. The term ‘no-blame divorce’ is also sometimes used.

Under the new no-fault divorce law, applying for a divorce is a simple process that involves submitting an application containing a ‘statement of irretrievable breakdown.’ This statement declares that the marriage is no longer viable due to an irretrievable breakdown in the relationship.

The application can be made either individually (a sole application) or jointly with your spouse (a joint application), and it is typically completed online.


The idea of challenging a divorce has been abolished, meaning that an individual can apply for a divorce without the other party’s consent. This ensures that no one is forced to stay in a marriage they wish to end, and abusive partners can no longer use contesting a divorce as a means to prolong their harmful behaviour.

Although some groups were concerned that the new laws would lead to hasty divorces, couples must now carefully consider their decision during a mandatory reflection period. This period lasts 20 weeks (minimum) from the application date, during which a conditional order is granted. Following the conditional order, an additional six-week period is required before the final order.

Among the most prominent benefits of a no-fault divorce is that there is no blame game to be played before, during, or after the divorce process. Instead, the couple can focus their energies on more essential and productive areas such as financial settlements, or outlook into the future.

Starting the Divorce Process

You must file a divorce petition with the court to start the divorce process. The petition will include details about your marriage and any relevant financial or child arrangements. You will also need to pay a fee to the court.

Once the petition has been filed, your spouse will be served with the papers. Under the no-fault divorce law, your spouse cannot challenge the divorce. This prevents one partner from locking the other in an unhappy marriage.

After You Apply

If you have applied with your spouse, your application will be scrutinized. If it matches the criteria, your spouse and you will receive a notice of application, a case number, and an acknowledgement receipt.

You will then have to wait for twenty weeks before you or your spouse can continue with the divorce process and apply for the conditional order.

If you applied for divorce by yourself, your spouse will be sent an acknowledgement for the application. They must respond to the notice within fourteen days. Once they agree to the divorce, you can continue with the divorce process, as mentioned above. However, if they do not respond to the notice, the court will notify you of the steps you need to take.

Financial and Child Arrangements

During the divorce process, you will need to come to an agreement with your spouse about any financial or child arrangements. This may involve dividing assets such as property, pensions, and savings. It will also involve deciding on arrangements for any children you have, such as custody, visitation, and child support.

If you cannot come to an agreement, you may need to seek the assistance of a mediator or take the matter to court. The court will decide based on the children’s best interests.

Once you and your spouse agree (with or without mediation) on the division of property and finances, you will need to submit an application for a consent order and make the agreement legally binding.

It is important to understand that reaching an agreement regarding financial arrangements is not necessary under the no-fault divorce law. But failing to do so can lead your partner to file a claim against you. So, it is highly recommended to obtain a Consent Order even if you don’t have shared assets.

Finalising the Divorce

This usually involves obtaining a conditional order and a final order. A conditional order confirms the court has no objections to the divorce. After six weeks and one day, a final order can be applied for the final legal document ending the marriage.

Final Thoughts

Going through a divorce can be a challenging process. However, understanding the process can help make it less daunting. If you are considering divorce, seeking legal advice is important to ensure you understand your rights and obligations. With the right support, you can navigate the divorce process and move forward with your life.