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Issuing the divorce proceedings

From the 6th April 2022 The Divorce and Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 (DDSA 2020) amends the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and the Civil Partnership Act 2004 to make Divorce “no fault”.


To commence a divorce the DDSA 2020 requires a statement of irretrievable breakdown.


The terminology used had changed as follows:


Previous                          from 6th April 2022

Divorce Petition                        Application

Petitioner                                  Applicant

Decree Nisi                               Conditional Order

Decree Absolute                      Final Divorce Order


Under the DDSA 2020, there will be no option to defend a divorce and the Court must take the statement that the marriage or civil partnership has broken down irretrievably as conclusive evidence that it has, and make a Divorce Order or Dissolution Order.


A divorce which is not disputed will be known as a standard case.


A divorce can be disputed on certain grounds, including where the validity or subsistence of the marriage or civil partnership or jurisdiction of the Court is disputed.


Under the new law a divorce can be filed by either or both parties to a marriage or civil partnership (joint application)


If parties start jointly but are unable to continue jointly, a party can, at the Conditional or Final Order stage, change the application to a sole application.


If a joint party wishes to proceed as a sole applicant at Final Order stage the party must give 14 days’ notice to the other party of their intention to give notice to the Court that they wish the Conditional Order to be made Final.


There is a new minimum time frame for the proceedings. Once the application has been issued there will be a minimum 20-week period from the date on which the application was issued before a party/joint applicants can apply for a Conditional Order.


Following the Conditional Order there must be a minimum of 6 weeks before a party can apply for a Final Order.


This is only a brief summary of the new law, it is important to consider taking advice on the full implications of the new divorce law and procedure.

The information on this page is for general guidance only and should not be treated as a definitive guide or be regarded as legal advice. If you need more details or information about the matters referred to on these web page please seek independent formal legal advice. This information was correct at the time of going to press in September 2020.


The law in this area is subject to change, we cannot be held responsible if changes to the law outdated this publication. Links provided on our website are for your convenience. It does not imply reliability or endorsement by us, and we accept no liability in respect of the content.

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