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No fault divorce

No fault divorce in England and Wales was introduced on 6th April 2022.

Previously, the sole ground upon which a divorce may be granted is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. However, this could only be established by proving one of the following five facts:

  • The respondent has committed adultery and the petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the respondent
  • The respondent has behaved in such a way that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent
  • The respondent has deserted the petitioner for a continuous period of at least two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition
  • The parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition and the respondent consents to a decree being granted
  • The parties to the marriage have lived apart for a continuous period of at least five years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition

Before the change, the nearest option to a no fault divorce was either two years separation with the respondents consent, or five years separation. These grounds are comparatively uncommon in practice, given the time requirements that they impose.

In practice, therefore, most people were obliged to cite some element of fault in their petition.

The information on this website is intended as a guide and does not constitute legal advice. Vardags do not accept liability for any errors in the information on this website, nor any losses stemming from reliance upon the statements made herein. All articles and pages aim to reflect the legal position at time they were published, and may have been rendered obsolete by subsequent developments in the law. Should you require specialist advice, tailored to your situation, please see how Vardags can help you.

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