March 22, 2022

How do we jointly apply for divorce under the new laws?

By Jones Myers Partner, Nicki Mitchell  

On April 6, a three-decade long campaign to modernise divorce laws will finally come to fruition.

No-Fault Divorce – spearheaded by family justice group Resolution – and backed by members including our award-winning family law firm Jones Myers – finally ends the bitter ‘blame game.’

The process eliminates the need for separating couples to prove some form of fault or to live apart for at least two years before being granted a divorce.

For the first time ever, couples can submit a joint application on mutual terms. These are the steps to take if you are in this situation.

Step 1

As joint Applicants you can both apply for a Divorce Order if your marriage has broken down irretrievably. You must also confirm that you have discussed the possibility of a reconciliation.

Firstly, you will need to agree between yourselves who will be the first Applicant as they will start the process by completing the application. The other spouse will then have the opportunity to complete, review and provide any additional details. Both of you will need to sign a statement of truth confirming the facts in the document are true before filing the application.

Step 2

You lodge a statement with the completed application for a Divorce Order, which confirms that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. You can agree between yourselves how to pay the court fee of £593 for your joint application.

Step 3

The court starts the process, and you go through a 20 week ‘reflection period’ to carefully consider if you are making the right decision before you can apply for a Conditional Order (currently known as a Decree Nisi). This is a court order stating the date when a marriage will terminate unless there is a good reason to refuse to grant a divorce.

Step 4

If, after 20 weeks, you still want to continue the divorce application, you inform the court and apply for a Conditional Order.

Step 5

Six weeks after applying for the Conditional Order, the court can issue a Final Order (currently known as a Decree Absolute) – the legal document that terminates the marriage.

If, during the process you are unable to work together to progress the joint application, either of you can apply for a Divorce Order as an individual Applicant.

A cautionary recommendation is to ensure the financial issues are agreed before a Final Order is granted so that pensions and insurance benefits can be protected.

No-Fault Divorce aims to make it easier for couples to manage their separation and work together to avoid lengthy, costly, and stressful court disputes. An experienced family law firm such as Jones Myers can help you both with compiling the necessary documents or you can apply jointly online.

For queries on No-Fault Divorce, the current divorce process, or any aspect of family law, visit this link, call us at Leeds on 0113 246 0055, Harrogate on 01423 276104, or York on 01904 202550. Visit, email or tweet us @helpwithdivorce