The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 has brought about the long-awaited ‘no fault’ divorce in England and Wales. This now means that divorcing couples are no longer required to assign blame for the breakdown of their marriage. What has been the impact since its introduction?

‘No fault’ divorce

This change has been welcomed by many as the fault-based system historically caused a great deal of unnecessary conflict for separating couples at the very outset of their divorce. This then often led to the breakdown of amicable and constructive conversations concerning the parties divorce thereafter.

Under the new regime, divorce applications can be made by divorcing couples on either a sole or joint basis whereby divorcing couples now only have to confirm that their marriage has irretrievably broken down.

What impact, however, has the change had since April 2022?

Statistics have been released to suggest that there were over 12,000 new divorce applications in April 2022. This can be compared against the statistics for April 2021, where there were just over 6,000 online divorce applications.

This initial influx may well be because a number of couples were waiting for the new law to come into force before proceeding to formalise their separation. However, time will tell as to whether those statistics continue to increase.

Is there a difference between the number of joint applications and sole applications?

Of the 12,000 new divorce applications in April 2022, it is understood that just over 10,000 divorce applications were sole applications, and just over 2,000 were applications made on a joint basis.

Why might separating couples prefer to proceed with a sole divorce application?

Often we advise our client’s that proceeding with a sole divorce application is simply less of an administrative burden so that both parties do not have to be involved at each administrative step of the divorce process. Likewise, it reduces the risk of any complications in the later stages of the divorce if amicable conversations have unfortunately broken down between the parties.

However, each individual case is different and if you are in any doubt as to how you should proceed with formalising your separation then please do get in touch with a member of our team who will be happy to assist.