amicable’s guide to no-fault divorce in England and Wales

Posted 6 April 2023


To mark the one-year anniversary of no-fault divorce, our partner amicable has put together a reminder of what no-fault divorce is and how you can apply for it.

What is a no-fault divorce? 

After the 6th of April 2022, no-fault divorce was introduced in England and Wales. No-fault divorce means that you don’t need to blame your ex-partner and prove ‘fault’ in order to get divorced. You also don’t need to have been separated for long periods of time.

Can you contest a no-fault divorce?

In England and Wales, following the introduction of no-fault divorce, if one of you thinks the marriage is over, then it is. You’ll still need to go through the legal steps necessary for divorce and your ex-partner will need to respond to the proceedings, but there are now very few ways that a no-fault divorce can be contested (prevented).

These are:

    • You’re already divorced.

    • Your marriage isn’t legal.

    • Your divorce proceedings should take place in another country.

When was no-fault introduced? 

No-fault divorce was introduced on the 6th of April 2022. Before this date, separating couples in England and Wales had to choose from five reasons to prove their marriage had broken down ‘irretrievably’. These reasons were known as the ‘grounds for divorce’ and included ‘unreasonable behaviour’ and ‘adultery’.

Are all divorces ‘no-fault’?

Divorces started after the 6th of April 2022 are under the new law, and are all ‘no-fault’. Divorces started before this date are under the old law and will be based on one of the ‘grounds for divorce’.

With the change in law, you can no longer blame your ex-partner on the legal forms and in the divorce proceedings. All you need to do is tick a box to confirm that you agree with the statement that your marriage has broken down irretrievably.

How long does a no-fault divorce take? 

As of the 6th of April 2022, divorces and dissolutions in England and Wales take at least 7 months to be completed due to the ‘reflection periods’ which have been built into the legal process, following the introduction of no-fault divorce.

How do I get a no-fault divorce? 

There are several stages to the divorce process and you can start your divorce yourself through, or we have services where this is included.

The legal steps are:

    • Divorce application.

    • Conditional order.

    • Consent order (optional).

    • Final order.

You are not legally divorced until you receive your final order. You can read more about the divorce process here.

Divorcing alone doesn’t end your financial relationship with your ex, and if you want to cut your financial ties and protect yourself from future claims, you can get a consent order (if you both agree).

A consent order is a document that tells the court how you’ve divided any money, property, pensions and other assets or debt. You will need a legal professional, such as amicable, to prepare this for you. If you need help agreeing, amicable also offers negotiation services. You can explore amicable’s services here.

How much does a no-fault divorce cost? 

If you start your divorce yourself through, you will need to pay the government court fee, which is £593. Use this court fees calculator to explore whether you might be eligible for a discount on the court fees.

If you’re using a service to help you with your divorce, financial or children arrangements, you will need to pay an additional fee.

Tip: Choosing professional help can be overwhelming. Make sure you know about any additional fees or costs, as some places won’t offer fixed and transparent fees.
Book a free 15-minute call with amicable if you would like to understand the options available to you.