The “No Fault” Divorce: What Does It Mean?

Originally planning on being introduced in Autumn 2021, the new law on “no fault” divorce will be established in April 2022. First announced in February 2019, this is the first change in divorce laws for nearly 50 years and will bring much needed and wanted reforms to this area. 

What changes will this new Bill bring and why has it been introduced? 

Looking Into the “No Fault” Divorce 

What Does the Current Divorce Law State? 

In England and Wales, the current divorce law requires one spouse to file for divorce, unless they have been separated for 2 years or more. In this process, the petitioner is required to make an allegation about the respondent’s conduct, choosing from 3 reasons: unreasonable behaviour, adultery, or desertion. 

If one of these reasons cannot be proven, the couple then must go through a ‘separation period’ of up to 5 years before the marriage can be legally dissolved.  

What is “No Fault” Divorce? 

This new law eliminates the requirement to attribute blame to one spouse. Instead of choosing from the 3 reasons to explain why they require a divorce, couples will be able to provide “a statement of irretrievable breakdown” instead. 

The statement can be completed by either an individual spouse or jointly and will detail the irretrievable breakdown, with no further evidence to be required. This will be the sole ground for wanting to obtain a divorce.  

Why Has This Change Been Made? 

The necessity of placing the blame on one spouse is out of date in today’s society. Unfortunately, the current divorce laws create hostility, increase animosity and make tough circumstances even more difficult. It is believed by many that it is unreasonable for a couple to be forced to stay together, especially when they have tried to make it work. 

The “no fault” divorce places the focus on reaching a resolution as quickly and as easily as possible. It sets a positive tone for future discussions regarding financial issues and child arrangements. Also, it reduces the impact that allegation can have on both the couple and any children involved.  

Will Divorce Rates Increase in Spring 2022? 

Unfortunately, after the year we have had and with this new Bill being introduced, it is very likely that divorce rates will significantly increase. However, “no fault” divorce has been specifically introduced to avoid any further conflict and harm to a fragile relationship. 

If you are going through a separation, Caversham Solicitors are here to help you in any way we can during such difficult times. Please contact our Family Solicitors to arrange an appointment or ask any questions by emailing the team at or calling 0800 085 5575