No Fault Divorce Legislation


9 April 2019

By Farhad Islam

Legislation for no-fault divorce will be introduced as ‘soon as parliamentary time becomes available’.

Currently, there is no such thing as a no fault divorce. The only ground for divorce, is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and to commence divorce proceedings you have to rely on one of five facts:

  1. Adultery
  2. Unreasonable behaviour
  3. Two years separation with consent
  4. Five years separation (no consent needed)
  5. Desertion

As no ‘fault divorce’ is available at the moment, it means that unless you have been separated for two years or more, if you wish to divorce before the two years of separation you would have to issue proceedings based upon your spouse’s unreasonable behaviour or adultery.

Even if you and your spouse accept that the marriage is over, or are completely amicable, under the current law, an element of blame will need to be assigned to one of you, unless you choose to wait for a period of two years.

Once the new changes are implemented, there will be an option for a joint application and the need for evidence of adultery, unreasonable behaviour, periods of separation or desertion will be replaced by a requirement for a statement of irretrievable breakdown. This will then preserve the two-stage legal process known as decree nisi and decree absolute.

Parallel changes will also be made to the law governing the dissolution of a civil partnership.

Gepp Solicitors have a wealth of experience in family law and divorce and are happy to assist with any enquiries. Email Filomena Sterkaj at or call 01245 228106 today to speak to one of our experts.

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.