No fault divorces delayed until April 2022

no fault divorce


Plans to implement the long-anticipated Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 in the autumn of 2021 have been delayed by a further six months. The government has now committed to introducing the reforms on 6th April 2022.

The reforms will for the first time allow for a no-fault divorce, removing the obligation for separating couples to attribute blame for the breakdown of the marriage.

Currently, you can only start immediate divorce proceedings by alleging unreasonable behaviour, adultery or desertion against the other party.  Alternatively, you have to have lived apart for two years and the other person consents to the divorce, or to have been separated for five years if the other person doesn’t consent.

Head of Pictons Private Client Services, Siobhan Rooney comments

“Whilst it is a shame there is a further delay in implementation, at Pictons we welcome the progress made by the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020. The current system is needlessly antagonistic and the removal of the five-year period and allowing for a no-fault divorce is a sensible move. We anticipate the changes will reduce costs as well as unnecessary acrimony.”

The bill also takes away the ability to contest the divorce, although there will still be a possibility of challenging a divorce petition on very limited grounds such as coercion or fraud. The bill also allows couples to jointly apply for a divorce where the decision is a joint one.

For further information and advice on any aspect of divorce or separation including family issues, please contact Siobhan Rooney at Pictons:

0800 302 9448