‘No Fault’ Divorce

No-fault divorce

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 came into effect on 6th April 2022 and is being hailed as the most significant change to divorce law in England and Wales in 50 years. This new law means that married couples will no longer need to prove one of the five reasons for divorce listed in the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 to show that their marriage has irretrievably broken down. This allows couples to get divorced without having to blame each other, which is commonly known as ‘no-fault divorce.’ The Act also includes similar changes for couples in civil partnerships under the Civil Partnership Act 2004. These changes are designed to reduce conflict and make the process of ending a marriage or civil partnership less confrontational.

Some of the key changes include:

  • The need to prove specific reasons for the breakdown of a marriage or civil partnership is replaced with a simple requirement to provide a statement of irretrievable breakdown.
  • The possibility of defending a divorce or civil partnership dissolution is removed, and the court must accept the statement that the marriage or civil partnership has irretrievably broken down as conclusive evidence, without examining whether the breakdown has been proven.
  • Divorce or civil partnership dissolution may only be disputed based on the validity or existence of the marriage or civil partnership, or the court’s jurisdiction in the proceedings.
  • For the first time, either party or both parties to a marriage or civil partnership can apply for divorce or dissolution, allowing for joint applications.

How long does it take to get a divorce or dissolution?

Getting a divorce or dissolution usually takes at least 6 months, even if things are uncomplicated. If there are money, property, or children’s issues, it could take longer. These matters will be dealt with separately from the divorce or dissolution process.

There is a mandatory 20-week waiting period from the commencement of divorce proceedings before the conditional order, previously known as the decree nisi, can be issued. There is a further six-week period before the final order, previously known as the decree absolute, can be granted.

How much does it cost?

If you’re initiating divorce or dissolution proceedings against your spouse or civil partner, it means that you are the applicant, and therefore responsible for completing and submitting the divorce application. Our fixed fee divorce service for applicants starts from £800 plus VAT, as long as both parties agree to the divorce / dissolution.

In addition to our fee, you will be required to pay the court fee which is currently £593. The court fee will need to be paid upfront. If you are on low income, you may be eligible for help with court fees. For more information, you can visit

The fees highlighted above are typical costs involved in legally ending your marriage or civil partnership. There will be additional costs to deal with financial, asset, or child-related matters, which can vary depending on the circumstances.

How can we help?

Divorce can be a difficult and emotional process, often involving complex legal considerations and personal challenges. At SMK Solicitors, we understand the sensitive nature of divorce proceedings and are committed to providing compassionate and expert assistance to our clients. Our team is dedicated to guiding you through the intricacies of divorce law and offering support every step of the way. With our experienced professionals and comprehensive understanding of family law, we are well-equipped to help you achieve a successful and fair resolution. Additionally, we offer fixed fee services, providing transparency and predictability in the legal process, so you can have peace of mind as you navigate this challenging time.