Divorce applications have reached their highest level in a decade following the introduction of “no-fault” law. On April 6, new legislation came into effect in England and Wales enabling couples to go through divorce proceedings without apportioning blame either individually or together.
The impact of the change can be seen in the quarterly Ministry of Justice family court statistics. The data shows that there were 33,566 divorce applications for the period April 2022 to June 2022, with the vast majority made under the new legislation and from sole applicants.
Ministry of Justice figures also showed the number of divorce applications for the period April 2022 to June 2022 rose to the highest level since the first quarter of 2012 and is up 22% from the same period last year.
In contrast, there were 30,238 divorce petitions made during January 2022 to March 2022, before the new legislation came into effect.
However, the statistics showed that of the applications between April and June 2022, the vast majority (33,234 out of a total 33,566) were made under the new law. More than three-quarters of these applications were by sole applicants.
On the face of it the statistics show that the divorce rates continue to be on the rise. However, it must be considered that a number of people may have waited in the first quarter of 2022 to be able to proceed with no-fault divorce, so this may explain the surge.
A no fault, or no blame divorce is a much more straightforward and amicable approach to separation. As per the no fault divorce process, couples will be able to file for divorce or civil partner dissolution without having to place the blame on their former partner to prove the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
The timescales relating to the no fault divorce process are relatively straightforward. It is now estimated that no fault divorce proceedings take a minimum of 26 weeks to finalise. This is because there are now two separate minimum waiting periods. There is a 20-week waiting period for the Conditional Order (this was formerly known as the Decree Nisi) to be issued and a further 6 week waiting period for the Final Order (this was formerly known as the Decree Absolute).