May 23, 2024

Understanding Divorce

This post was written by: Lynette A'Court

Navigating the complexities of the divorce process can be overwhelming, especially if you’re finding it difficult to understand the legalities and procedural nuances. However, understanding the different types of divorces available in the UK can help make this journey easier, providing clarity and direction during a hard time.

In the UK, the divorce process has significantly changed with the introduction of the Divorce, Dissolution, and Separation Act 2020, which came into effect in April 2022. This new law has introduced the concept of “no-fault” divorce, aiming to simplify the process.

Beyond this significant change, there are several types of divorce processes available, each suited to different situations and needs.

The “no-fault” divorce is a new legislation which gives couples the chance to divorce without any party blaming the other. The aim of this law is to reduce conflict and make the process as seamless as possible. You can apply for a divorce either alone or with your partner, by simply stating that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, and there is no need to present any evidence of misdeeds. There is a mandatory minimum period of 20 weeks between the start of the proceedings and the application for a conditional order, followed by a further 6 weeks before the final order can be granted.

While the “no-fault” legislation has become the default, it is still possible for one party to contest the divorce, although this happens quite rarely now. This process is referred to as a “contested” divorce, and it occurs when one party disagrees with the divorce, or the terms proposed. This can lead to a court hearing where a judge will decide the outcome of the matter.

On the other hand, if both parties agree on the divorce, and the terms proposed, the process is referred to as an “uncontested” divorce. Since there is mutual consent and understanding, the process tends to be straightforward, involving filing the necessary paperwork and obtaining the final order without the need for a court hearing.

A “dissolution of civil partnership” is like divorce, but for civil partners. The process is similar to that of a marriage and can be initiated by one or both parties. This process follows the “no-fault” principle and can be initiated by one or both parties, as long as it’s stated that the partnership has irretrievably broken down.

Another type of divorce is called an “annulment”. This is a legal procedure that declares a marriage null and void, as if it never existed. This is, however, only acceptable on certain grounds where the marriage wasn’t legally valid. For instance, if one partner was already married, or the marriage wasn’t consummated. Moreover, unlike divorce, an annulment can be sought at any time.

An alternative to divorce is called a “judicial separation”. This is for couples who don’t wish to end their marriage but want to live apart and formalise their separation. The way this works is one party applies for a judicial separation by citing one of the five facts that previously supported a divorce. These would be: one of the parties committed adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, or there was a two-year separation with consent, or five-year separation without consent.

Ultimately, understanding the different types of divorce can help you choose the best path. It is important to consider your specific needs and circumstances, as each type of divorce offers distinct processes. With any divorce, choosing a lawyer you can trust and rely on will make the whole process easier and less stressful. Aston Bond’s family lawyer has all the experience you’ll need to feel confident and supported throughout the process. Don’t hesitate to contact us on 01753 486 777 or email us at