Is there really a “quickie” divorce system now?

Divorce laws changed hugely in April 2022 to a “no-fault” regime.

Divorce laws changed hugely in April 2022 to a “no-fault” regime. In the months leading up to and shortly after the new law came into place, the press were regularly referring to this as a “quickie” divorce, but is that really the case?


Before April 2022, to get a divorce you had to show an element of fault (your husband or wife had behaved unreasonably or committed adultery) or have been separated for two years (with spouse consent) or five years before you could start divorce proceedings. This meant that if a marriage had just fizzled out and the couple wanted to go their separate ways without either of them having started new relationships, they either had to wait until they had been separated for two years or make allegations of unreasonable behaviour.

Family lawyers have really welcomed the change to a no-fault regime. Provided you have been married for a year, you can simply start divorce proceedings by saying that your marriage has irretrievably broken down, without having to prove that through making allegations about the other person behaving unreasonably or committing adultery. However, the downside is that the process is now much slower.

How do you apply for a no-fault divorce?

Although technology has helped to speed up the divorce process significantly over the last few years, the no-fault regime does have a waiting period built in. The process is therefore now as follows:

  • The divorce process is started either by one spouse or the couple jointly
  • The couple then have to wait 20 weeks before the divorce can move forwards
  • After the 20-week period, it’s possible to apply for the conditional order (what used to be called decree nisi)
  • 6 weeks and a day later, the couple can apply for the final order (what used to be decree absolute).

Getting legal advice

Most people think long and hard before deciding to start divorce proceedings. They can often be disappointed to find that when they take legal advice, they then have to wait quite a long period before they can progress the divorce. However, by considering starting the divorce process even before they have started talking about finances, or reached an agreement about finances, there is plenty of time during the 20-week period to discuss finances.

If an agreement is reached about their finances, this needs to be written up as a consent order, which can be sent to the court anytime after the conditional order is announced.

We would always recommend that you take legal advice at an early stage, even if you do not want to take any formal steps with regard to divorce or separation yet, so that you are making informed decisions. While it may not be possible to work out exact details, you will be able to explain to your solicitor the things that are most important to you and they can advise on whether it seems those things will be achievable. In an initial meeting with a solicitor, you should be able to map out how arrangements for your children (if appropriate) should work together with plans for dealing with your finances, both in the short term and overall.

For more information or advice in respect of divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, please contact Demelza at

For further details about our Family and Matrimonial services, please click here.

Picture of Demelza Patricio, Partner in Family Law

Demelza Patricio, Partner in Family Law

Divorce laws changed hugely in April 2022 to a “no-fault” regime. Family lawyers have really welcomed the change to a no-fault regime.

Is there really a “quickie” divorce system now?

Contact Us

In order for us to direct your enquiry to the right person at TWM Solicitors, we need to know a little more about you and what are you looking for.

Please complete the boxes below and we will forward on directly to the most appropriate person.

Thank you for contacting TWM Solicitors, your completed form has been sent successfully. If this is an enquiry we are able to assist with, one of our team will be in contact with you as soon as possible. Please note, this may not be until the next working day, and during business hours. If you require urgent assistance, please call: 0330 555 0440.