No Fault Divorce, Again

As you may have read in our previous blogs, No Fault Divorce has been on the table for some time. In 2019, it was moving forward at a pace. However, in September prorogation halted its progress, followed by the general election in December. However, thankfully the government have recognised its importance for couples and have put it back on the agenda.

Where is the No Fault Divorce bill up to?

So far, the bill has passed through two readings in the Commons and committee stages. On the 6th January, it was reintroduced to the parliament. Hopefully, it will pass through the both the House of Lords and the House of Commons swiftly. Hopefully, it will then receive Royal Asset. If you are interested in how new bills are passed, further information is available here.

What happens at the moment?

At the moment, there are 5 options, know as "facts". One of you can accuse the other of unreasonable behaviour, adultery or desertion. Alternatively, if you have been separated for 2 years and you both consent or you have been separated for 5 years, you can apply for divorce without the need for accusations. The issue is that 2 years is a long time to wait when both of you want to move forward. You do, of course, have the option to accuse the other of one of three things. However, if you are aiming for an amicable divorce, you may not want to see accusations written down in black and white on a form. This can create animosity that many separating couples cannot get over.

Why is an amicable settlement important?

If you are in a position where you are splitting up because of an abusive relationship, either physical, emotional or mental, an amicable settlement is unlikely to be possible. However, if you are not, coming to an agreement about your separate financial futures can be a much healthier way to part ways. If you have children, this is even more important. You are likely to need to have contact with your ex about the children at least until they are financial independent and maybe even after this point. You may need to contact each other to make emergency changes to arrangements, about school or educational issues, when the children play you off against one another (yes, they will do this), etc. It is much easier to have this contact when you haven't been involved in a battle during the divorce proceedings.

Should we wait?

My gut feeling is yes, you should consider waiting for no fault divorce. If you have not yet submitted your divorce papers or have recently separated, it is worth waiting a month or two to see how the bill progresses. Divorce takes time anyway. However, there are NO guarantees that the bill will receive Royal Assent and become law. Also, the new rules do give 20 weeks of consideration time from when you submit the application to when the Decree Nisi is granted.


If you enjoyed this article, you might also like "Will “No Fault” Speed Up My Divorce?". The Smart Divorce Podcast is now available on Spotify and iTunes. Episode 1 is available now, with Tamsin speaking to counsellor hypnotherapist Susan Leigh about the emotional aspects of separation and divorce. Episode 2 will be available from the 17th January 2020.

Tamsin Caine works with divorcing couples and individuals to help them to sort out their finances fairly and amicably. She helps them to work out what they want from their future lives and the steps they need to take to get it. She is a Chartered Financial Planner and founder of Smart Divorce. Tamsin can help at any stage of the divorce process. If you would like to arrange a free initial meeting, or just have a question, please get in touch either by phoning 07975 922766 or emailing


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