The no-fault divorce legal guidelines launched in 2022 have sparked a brand new daybreak in divorce regulation. The main change introduced in by the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 is that divorcing {couples} not should cite blame after they file for divorce, a transfer designed to make the method easier. 

Understandably, for the reason that introduction, there was a lower within the variety of divorce petitions, in keeping with Major Family Law, which states that filings for divorce have fallen for the third 12 months in a row. Despite these basic shifts within the regulation, this isn’t the primary time they’ve modified. We discover how divorce legal guidelines have modified over the past two centuries and the importance of the brand new legal guidelines right this moment. 

In the start…

In the start, divorce was very a lot a ‘luxury’ for the wealthy who might break up by an Act of Parliament. But issues started to vary in 1857 when divorce proceedings have been moved from parliament to the civil courts. The Matrimonial Clauses Act made divorce extra accessible to peculiar folks. At the time, the invoice was controversial as some noticed it as a usurpation of the authority of the Church, whereas others seen it as a constructive step for girls’s rights.

Matrimonial Clauses Act 1923

In 1923, the Matrimonial Clauses Act was introduced in as a Private Member’s Bill. This new invoice enabled each women and men to divorce on the grounds of adultery. At the time, it was thought of a victory for equality.

The introduction of ‘matrimonial offences’

In 1937, a change within the Act got here when three new grounds for divorce have been launched. These have been cruelty, madness, and desertion. In addition, the Act additionally modified the regulation stating that {couples} couldn’t petition for divorce throughout the first three years of marriage until there have been distinctive grounds. 

The Divorce Reform Act of 1969

One of the largest items of laws was the Divorce reform Act of 1969, launched by the Labour authorities. The new legal guidelines have been introduced in to make proceedings simpler by permitting {couples} to divorce following a two-year separation if each events agreed, and 5 years if just one celebration nonetheless needed the divorce. Couples might now additionally request a no-fault divorce. The Divorce Reform Act had one of the vital important results on divorce statistics with the variety of divorces rising considerably. In 1973, adjustments to the Act have been launched to consolidate varied components of the present regulation, this included upkeep agreements, British nationality, and marriage validity. It additionally stipulated that unreasonable behaviour should behaviour that can not be moderately anticipated to dwell with. 

The Divorce, Dissolution, and Separation Act 2020

1973 was the final time adjustments have been launched earlier than the new no-fault divorces got here into impact on sixth April 2022. The basic intention of the reforms is to cut back the quantity of battle concerned in divorces. It does this by eradicating the necessity to cite fault or element the behaviour of spouses, and it additionally permits married {couples} to collectively apply for a divorce. 

A abstract of the important thing factors of the Divorce, Dissolution, and Separation Act 2020

  • Joint purposes – though spouses can nonetheless apply for a divorce individually, joint purposes can be made. This reduces the potential for extra adversarial proceedings with a ‘petitioner’ and a ‘respondent – both parties are now ‘the applicants’ 
  • No-fault – candidates don’t must proof unreasonable behaviour or have a interval of two – 5 years to break up. They can merely state that the wedding or civil partnership is irretrievably damaged down. 
  • Reflection interval. There is now a 20-week interval following the beginning of the divorce when spouses can mirror on their determination and make sensible plans, for instance, youngster preparations
  • Terminology – the vocabulary related to divorce has modified. As effectively as ‘applicants’ there’s now a Conditional Order changing ‘Decree Nisi’ and a Final Order, changing Decree Absolute. 
  • Contesting a divorce. It can also be not potential to contest a divorce or the tip of a Civil Partnership until there are distinctive circumstances. It is believed this aspect will shield victims of home abuse. Previously, having the ability to contest a divorce has meant some abusers have been capable of extend their management by not permitting the divorce to go forward shortly. 


The historic sample of divorce regulation reform has modified consistent with the wants of society through the years, and the legal guidelines will doubtless change once more sooner or later. For now, there was largely constructive assist from legal professionals and rights teams who believed the previous legal guidelines have been not related and outdated. Despite this, some teams have argued that the brand new laws that requires no fault to be declared, will introduce a brand new, greater degree of divorce charges within the coming years. 

Source hyperlink