Who can get a no fault divorce?
You can get a no fault divorce if:
- You have been married for a minimum of 1 year
- You have a legally recognised marriage. This also includes same-sex marriage
- Your relationship has broken down
- You and your husband/wife permanently live in the UK.
As of the 6th April 2022, you no longer need to assign blame to the other party. You can apply for divorce solely or jointly with your husband/wife. This makes it easier for those involved in a no fault divorce as they no longer have to blame each other because the marriage/relationship broke down.
How can I apply for a divorce?
To apply for a divorce, you will need to:
- Provide yours and your husband’s/wife’s full names and current addresses *
- Provide marriage certificate or certified copy
- Provide proof of name change if you’ve changed your name since marriage
- Pay for the divorce application. How you pay will depend on how you apply for your divorce.If completing an application online, you will need to create an account with a login and password.
https://www.apply-divorce.service.gov.uk – Here is the link to complete the divorce application online
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-d8-application-for-a-divorce-dissolution-or-to-apply-for-a-judicial-separation-order – Here is the link to complete the postal application
- If you don’t know your husband’s or wife’s current address, please visit https://www.gov.uk/divorce-missing-husband-wife
Where you provide an email address for your husband/wife, the divorce papers will be sent to you electronically. If you don’t give an email, the documents will be posted to you.
Some people are eligible for help with the fee. To find out more, please visit https://www.gov.uk/get-help-with-court-fees. You can also get help with completing the divorce application either by paying solicitors or by Citizens Advice.
What happens after I apply for a divorce?
The answer to this is dependent on whether you applied for divorce solely or jointly with your husband/wife.
Where an application is jointly sent, checks will be made. If the application is correct, you will be sent a notice that your application has been issued. Your application will also have been stamped by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service. You will also receive a receipt of acknowledgement and a case number.
You will need to wait for 20 weeks once the application has been submitted. Once this has passed, you and your husband/wife can continue applying for a conditional order (previously known as a decree nisi).
Where an application is solely sent, checks will be made. If the application is correct, you will be sent a notice that your application has been issued and a case number.
Your husband/wife will then receive the divorce application and an acknowledgement of service notification. They must respond within 14 days to the acknowledgement of service notification to say whether they agree with the divorce or dispute the divorce.
What happens if my husband/wife doesn’t respond to the acknowledgement of service notification?
If they don’t respond, the court will inform you of what you need to do next.
What happens if my husband/wife agrees with the divorce?
If they agree with the divorce, you will be able to continue with applying for a conditional order. Twenty weeks will need to have passed before you can apply for a conditional order.
What happens if my husband/wife disputes the divorce?
They will need to complete an answer form to state why they disagree with the divorce. The reason must be legal and genuine. The court will not accept that they just don’t want to divorce or that they want to delay the process. You may have to attend court to discuss this further.
If they do not complete an answer form, you can continue with the application for a conditional order.
Conditional order (previously a decree nisi)
A conditional order is a document that shows the court does not see a reason why you cannot divorce.
How do I apply for a conditional order?
If the court issued your divorce application on or after 6th April 2022, follow the steps below:
- If you applied for your divorce online, you would be told how to apply for a conditional order online.
- If you applied for your divorce by post, complete the application form for a conditional order.
- There must be 20 weeks between your divorce application being issued and applying for your conditional order.
- You could continue with an application for a conditional order solely even if you started the process jointly.
What happens after I have applied for a conditional order?
If the judge agrees, you and your husband/wife will receive a certificate. Please note that this can take several weeks. The certificate will provide the time and date your conditional order will be granted. You and your husband/wife will still be married at this point.
After 43 days that the certificate has been granted, you can then apply to finalise the divorce.
How do I finalise my divorce?
To finalise your divorce, you will need to apply for a final order (where your divorce application was issued on or after 6th April).
Even if you and your husband/wife started the process jointly, you could solely apply for the final order.
You would be informed how to apply for the final order if you completed the divorce application online. To apply for the final order by post, please visit here.
You will have 12 months to apply for the final order from the date the conditional order was issued. If you go beyond this time frame, you will have to explain the delay to the court.
If you and your husband/wife want a legally binding financial settlement (dividing money and assets), you must apply to the court for this before your final order is issued.
When will my final order be issued?
First, the court will check that you have sent the correct forms/documents within the time limits and that they see no reason why your divorce cannot be granted.
Once the courts have confirmed the above, they will send both you and your husband/wife copies of the final order (previously the decree absolute)
Where a solicitor is acting on your behalf, the final order will be sent to them.
Once you have received the final order, you are legally divorced. You will need to keep the final order safe as evidence that you are divorced. If you lose it, you can apply to the court for a copy.
If you applied for the divorce solely and did not apply for a final order, your husband or wife can do this. They will have to wait three months on top of the usually 43 days until they can apply for the final order.
Are you in the divorce process, or are about to start the process? Access Mediation Services’ family mediators can support you. Whether you need to discuss a financial settlement or child arrangements/parenting plan, we are here to help.
To find out how Access Mediation Services’ can support you, please book a free no-obligation consultation.
To find out more information about the court process in relation to finances and assets please visit our resource – Assets, finances and how the family court works.
To find out more information about the court process in relation to child arrangements please visit our resource – How the family court works and child arrangement orders.