The Old Way
Before 6th April 2022 there was only one ground for a divorce and that is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. This meant that more often than not, someone needed to be blamed for the breakdown of the marriage, often causing a lengthy, drawn out and expensive process of the parties arguing over who is to blame.
The New Way
Thanks to the new law that is now in place and known as “no fault divorce.” you no longer need to blame anyone or explain why or how it has broken down. This makes the entire process far more amicable and straightforward.
Who Can Apply
Another advantage of the “no fault divorce” process is that you now have the choice to apply for the divorce as a sole application (on your own) or jointly with your spouse. The latter option is perfect in circumstances where you have reached a joint decision with your spouse that the marriage has come to an end and you can apply together.
So what else has changed?
If you have ever researched how to get divorced, you would have come across terms such as: divorce petition; petitioner; decree nisi; and decree absolute. This has now changed, and the following terminology has replaced the archaic language that was previously in place.
- Application has replaced petition – The application form for a divorce
- Applicant has replaced petitioner – The person making the application
- Conditional Order has replaced decree nisi – This is the court order that approves the divorce can proceed
- Final Order has replaced decree absolute –The court order finalising the divorce
This has been designed to make it far easier to understand and follow during the course of the proceedings.
How long does it take from start to finish?
The entire process, if both parties cooperate and all proceeds smoothly, should take no longer than 6 – 9 months.
Once you have applied for a divorce, there is a minimum period of 20 weeks from the beginning of proceedings to the point of the ‘Conditional Order’. This means that 20 weeks must elapse from when the application is filed with the court before the parties can apply for the Conditional Order. The main purpose for this window is to allow couples a period of ‘meaningful reflection’. If, after that period, the couple still wish to divorce, they must confirm this to the court when they apply for the Final Order.
It will not be made final until a further 6-week period between Conditional Order and Final Order has passed. This means that for those divorces with minimal finances or child matters to be resolved, it is possible to become fully divorced in as little as 26 weeks (6 months). Of course, other things can come into the mix, such as court and legal administration, which during busy periods may slow matters.
In exceptional circumstances, it is possible to apply to shorten the above timescales and those couples with unresolved financial issues may also delay an application for a Final Order until such matters are agreed.
Tyrer Roxburgh Solicitors are dedicated family lawyers with over 20 years of experience in divorce and financial proceedings. We pride ourselves in offering a bespoke and compassionate service, always geared towards individuals personal circumstance.