New Year – New Start – New Divorce process

On 6 April 2022, the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 will come into effect.   The new system will implement “no fault divorce”.  There will be no need to show or prove wrongdoing by either party to secure a divorce. 

The sole ground for divorce will be an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.   There will no longer be any requirement to establish one of the current five grounds, such as adultery, unreasonable behavior or desertion. 

Under the new system, a joint application can be made where the couple agree that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.  One party can apply on their own if their partner does not agree. 

Either or both parties to a marriage or civil partnership may apply to the court for a Divorce Order which will dissolve the marriage on the ground that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. The application will be accompanied by a statement by the applicant that this is the case.  The statement will be deemed to be conclusive evidence and a Divorce Order will be made at the conclusion of the case.

A Divorce Order will initially be referred to as a Conditional Order and can be applied for once a minimum 20 weeks have elapsed from the start of the proceedings. Once a further 6 weeks have elapsed, an application can be made for the Conditional Order to be made into a Final Divorce Order. It will take a minimum of 6 months for the procedure to be completed.

There will still be a bar on an application for a divorce within the first year of the marriage.

The new system will ensure that divorce proceedings are no longer contested by one party and will remove the blame against one party, which should ensure that a divorce is less stressful and less expensive than under the current regime.

The new terminology is as follows:

  • “Decree Nisi” will be a “Conditional Order”
  • “Decree Absolute” will be a “Final Order”
  • “Petitioner” will be referred to as an “Applicant”
  • A “Divorce Order” will be a conditional or final order

How we can help

Keith Bull is Head of the Family Team and an accredited family law specialist on the Resolution Panel and an Advanced Member of the Law Society’s Family Law Panel.

If you wish to discuss any of the above issues, please contact a member of the family team at Bromleys on 0161 330 6821 for your free initial telephone discussion. If you prefer, you can fill in our online form or alternatively, you can email us at and we’ll call you back.