I have set out below the law for divorce and dissolution of civil partnerships started before 31 March 2022, and the law applying to divorce and dissolution of civil partnerships after that date. You cannot issue a divorce application after 4pm on 31 March 2022 until 6 April 2022, unless it is an urgent application:
|Old law until 31 March 2022||New law from 6 April 2022|
|You cannot issue divorce/dissolution proceedings in the first 12 months of your marriage/civil partnership.||No change.|
|To commence divorce/dissolution proceedings, you must assert that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.||No change.|
|You must detail the reason for the breakdown using one of the following grounds: |
2. Unreasonable behaviour
3. Two years separation with consent 4. Two years desertion
5. Five years separation.
|You do not need to say why the relationship has broken down, so ‘blaming’ the other party is no longer necessary.|
|The norm is that one party issues the proceedings.||A joint application or a sole application can be submitted to the court.|
|The party that starts the process generally applies for the orders needed to progress and finalise the divorce.||The final orders can be applied for either individually or jointly.|
|The other party can defend the divorce proceedings on numerous grounds.||The grounds to defend the divorce are now extremely limited:|
1. If there is an issue as to which country the proceedings should take place in (jurisdiction)
2. If there is an allegation that there was no valid marriage (validity)
|An order for costs can be pursued and is generally granted against the other party if the petition is based on adultery or behaviour.||It is unclear whether such costs will be granted under the new scheme. It is likely the parties will be expected to agree costs in advance.|
|Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute||Conditional Divorce Order and Final Divorce Order|
|The timetable for progressing the divorce to the Decree Nisi stage depended on the parties and workload of the court.||On a joint application, either party can obtain the Conditional Divorce Order 20 weeks after the application is issued. If it is a sole application, the same period applies as long as the other party has returned their form to the court within 18 weeks.|
|Once the conditional order has been granted, the final certificate cannot be obtained until six weeks and one day has elapsed.||No change : the final order cannot be obtained until six weeks after the conditional order.|
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