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The No Fault Divorce Process

At Banner Jones Solicitors our expert Family Law teams in Chesterfield, Dronfield, Mansfield and Sheffield are here to guide you through the no fault divorce process step by step.

We know that you will have lots of questions about your specific circumstances but here is our basic guide to the divorce process so that you know roughly what to expect.

Remember, to start divorce proceedings you need to establish:

  • That you have been married for more than a year
  • That the English Court has the jurisdiction to divorce you


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Divorce Process Stage 1

It may surprise you to learn that the legal process of “divorce” is more often than not, a paper exercise and no-one usually attends Court.

We will prepare a form called a "divorce petition" to start proceedings. It confirms to the Court that your marriage has irretrievably broken down, that you have decided that your marriage is sadly at an end, and that you are seeking a divorce.

You will need to provide:

  • A marriage certificate (we can help you get a copy if you don’t have one)
  • Court fee

We will then send the petition to the Court to start your divorce.

You can either divorce as a sole Applicant against your spouse, or, you and your partner can file one application for divorce jointly between you.

If you choose to proceed as a sole Applicant, then your spouse (the respondent) will receive a copy of the petition and a form which he/she/they have to complete and return to the court.

There is then a 20 week period that must follow before we can move on to Stage 2. During this time, we would advise that negotiations take place to resolve and agree the division of the marital assets.

Divorce Process Stage 2

After the requisite 20 week period following the issuing of your petition, we will then prepare a form to confirm to the Court what, if anything, has changed since the divorce proceedings were started.

We send this form to the Court and the District Judge decides if you have sufficient grounds to divorce your husband / wife. If so, the Court send us a certificate called a “Conditional Order”. You may think of the Conditional Order as the half way stage in the divorce process. 

Divorce Process Stage 3

From the date of the Conditional Order, there is then a further period of 6 weeks and a day which must pass before we are able to prepare your application for the “Final Order”. We shall prepare the necessary papers for the Court.

The Final Order brings your marriage to an end and leaves you free to re-marry.

In terms of timings, the average length of an uncontested divorce is usually around 26 weeks, but this depends on the complexity of your circumstances, how amicable both parties are in agreeing the solution, and whether the Courts have any delays. We may also advise that you delay applying for the Final Order if an agreement as to the division of the marital assets is yet to be reached.

Contact one of our expert no fault divorce solicitors

Our family law specialists achieve solutions through confidential settlements and are always on hand to provide support and guide you through the divorce process as we know this can be an extremely stressful time. Our expert solicitors are highly experienced and will treat each case uniquely depending on your circumstances.

We have offices in Chesterfield, Sheffield, Dronfield and Mansfield.

Frequently Asked Questions

He's got to keep a roof over our heads hasn't he?

Non-residential parents have to pay maintenance for their children; hopefully the amount can be agreed though negotiation and if not then the CSA will decide. Each case is different. If for example the Mum and the children stay in the family home then she may relinquish her claims over any other assets such as pension and savings in return.

How soon can I file for a no fault divorce?

You can get divorced in England or Wales if all of the following are true:

  • you’ve been married for over a year
  • your relationship has permanently broken down
  • your marriage is legally recognised in the UK (including same-sex marriage)
What am I entitled to in a no fault divorce?

The aim when sharing out matrimonial assets is to be fair. Both spouses have to make full disclosure about their assets and debts before any decisions can be made about distribution, trying to hide anything won't work. Factors which are important when sharing out the assets include the current and future needs of each spouse and any dependent children; the length of marriage and the age, earning capacity and contributions of each party.

Will I lose touch with my children?

Your aim should be that both parents still play an active part in the raising of the child/children.  Usually parents sort this out amongst themselves, although if there are problems mediation can be a good way to resolve this.  Going to Court should always be the last resort where children are involved.

Will we have to go to Court during our divorce?

No, getting a divorce should be an administrative excersise only and there are many options open to you that avoid going to Court.

What is a no fault divorce?

No fault divorce removes the need to prove one of the five facts of divorce (adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion of two years, separation of two years with consent to divorce and separation of five years without consent). Instead, only a statement of irretrievable breakdown will be needed.

A couple can file for divorce once they have been married for at least 12 months. There is no need to apportion blame or fault, as was the case under the previous law when parties had not been separated for a period of over 2 years.

Will I need a solicitor for a no fault divorce?

The role of the divorce solicitor will change, but they will still have a role in:

  • Assisting with the preparation of the divorce paperwork and lodging the same with the Court.
  • Advising on how finances should be divided on divorce, including things like how the family home will be dealt with, how pensions and other savings and investments might be split and whether there is a requirement for maintenance payments.
  • Preparing documents, for example, the consent order to create a legally binding financial agreement between the parties.
  • Advising on entitlements and helping to negotiate. If no agreement can be reached, a solicitor will advise as to the merits of issuing court proceedings and will represent you within these proceedings.
  • Implementing orders, whether by consent or decided by the court.
  • Advising and supporting parents who are in dispute to reach arrangements about how they will care for their children.
  • Preparing cases to be presented to the court and conducting the proceedings where disputes cannot be settled.


This is not an exhaustive list but illustrates that the divorce itself may only be a small part of the legal process of relationship breakdown.

How do I file for a no fault divorce?

To file for a no fault divorce you usually have 3 options:

  • Use a solicitor to file the paperwork for you
  • File yourself using the government portal
  • Use an online divorce service

Remember that this is just to start the divorce part of the process. The parenting and financial arrangements will normally need to be agreed separately to this part.

How long does the no fault divorce process take?

Divorce for most people will take a minimum of 26-weeks or six months, with additional time for the conditional order application to be considered and pronounced. If the couple need more time to complete their divorce, then the law will allow for this.

In exceptional circumstances (such as terminal illness or imminent birth of a child to one of the parties), it may be possible to have this process expedited.

Is a no fault divorce 'cheaper’?

It makes sense that if your separation is less contentious, then the legal costs will be lower, but there are often financial arrangements to sort out as well as dissolving the legal marriage or civil partnership.

With a no-blame culture in place, it is hoped that it will encourage more constructive discussions leading to better, and therefore less expensive, outcomes. However, there is no guarantee that this will necessarily be the case. A no fault divorce financial settlement is the same as any other divorce settlement, and may include maintenance and the division of assets etc.

Do both parties have to agree to a no fault divorce?

It is possible for one party to contest a no fault divorce in the same way that they could contest a traditional divorce. This occurs when the parties cannot agree on the terms of the divorce, i.e. a fair division of money and assets, maintenance, child custody etc. If this occurs, then the case will be put before a judge, unless the couple agree on ADR (alternative dispute resolution) such as mediation.

What is the no fault divorce process?
  1. We will prepare a form called a "divorce petition" to start proceedings. It confirms to the Court that your marriage has irretrievably broken down, that you have decided that your marriage is sadly at an end, and that you are seeking a divorce.
  2. After the requisite 20 week period following the issuing of your petition, we will then prepare a form to confirm to the Court what, if anything, has changed since the divorce proceedings were started.
  3. From the date of the Conditional Order, there is then a further period of 6 weeks and a day which must pass before we are able to prepare your application for the “Final Order”. The Final Order brings your marriage to an end and leaves you free to re-marry.
Can I contest a no fault divorce?

There is now very little you can do to contest an unwanted divorce, unless there have been procedural errors in the application – which is rare.

Why do we need no fault divorce?

As the old process of divorce required one party to divorce the other and provide reasons for their desire to divorce, it was difficult to focus on moving forward without conflict. Old divorce law (prior to 6 April 2022) dates from the 1970s and did not adequately reflect modern society and introduced an unnecessary element of delay or conflict in the divorce process.

Without the need for blame to be apportioned, it is likely that the process will be less upsetting for many, helping children get through a very difficult time. The change in the law will help avoid increased conflict. It will also help the co-parenting that will need to take place even after the marriage has been dissolved.

What happens about parenting and finance arrangements with a no fault divorce?

These are separate areas of your divorce and are not covered under the no fault divorce law. You will need to reach an agreement on how you are going raise your children whilst living separately and also agree on a fair division of your assets and any ongoing payments.

If you are struggling to agree between yourselves, family mediation is the next step as it is a pre-requisite for going to court for a decision in most cases. But there are also other options outside of court if mediation breaks down or is not suitable for your situation.

Can I file for a no fault divorce online?

You can apply for a no fault divorce online via the Government website. 

The online process may work for straightforward divorces where you can agree the grounds for divorce between yourselves, where both parties are co-operating with the divorce and where there are no issues over costs and/or children. However, having a solicitor providing legal advice ensures that you are supported throughout the process which can help to reduce the emotional burden. A solicitor can also ensure that the forms are completed correctly so that there are no delays and increased costs incurred by errors made on the forms.

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Mrs L, Hasland

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Thanks for your assistance with my case, your advice has been invaluable, and I would certainly recommend Banner Jones to my family and friends.

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Mr G, Forest Town

You were very helpful and sympathetic whilst dealing with my case and your knowledge and advice was excellent. Once initiated, my case was dealt with speed, professionalism. Good contact and communication was maintained throughout.

Mr G, Staveley

Efficient, compassionate, honest and realistic advice that instantly generated deserved trust. On time every time.

Mr J, Sheffield

Banner Jones are excellent, the Family team had some strategy to their advice rather than just giving bog standard legal advice.

Mr T, Whittington Moor

I used Kelly Parks for my divorce, and both her and her secretary, Dawn, were professional, efficient and friendly. I have used other solicitors before, but Banner Jones are by far the best.

Ms S, Sheffield

Absolutely brilliant service. Thank you so much!

Mrs D, Grassmoor

Banner Jones Solicitors provided an excellent service in what was a slow and difficult divorce matter. The advice and persistence was very reassuring and eventually led to a good outcome.

Miss M, Chesterfield

Very efficient, friendly and professional. We would definitely recommend to friends and family. They made the whole experience problem free.

Mrs W, Mansfield

We’re really grateful for the work you did for us. 10 out of 10!

Mr & Mrs S, Bridlington

Very easy to make appointments, very personal service from all people at Banner Jones, my solicitor was very friendly and put me at ease. If I needed a solicitor again, Banner Jones would be the first on my list.

Mr C, Dronfield

Brilliant service, kept well informed all the way through the process. Would definitely recommend.

Miss H, Nottinghamshire

Cannot fault the service, efficient, prompt and cautious. Matters explained very well and clearly. Pleasantly surprised.

Mr & Mrs D, Mansfield

Service provided was excellent. All the staff were very helpful, considerate and professional. I would highly recommend to friends and family.

Mr W, Nottinghamshire

I would recommend Banner Jones Solicitors 100% to anyone. Completely trustworthy, efficient and kind. You can rely on them to do everything they possibly can to fight your corner and protect your interests. Banner Jones' team will also go the extra mile to help too.

Ms C, Chesterfield

Thank you & your team for all of your help understanding during a very difficult time. We got there.

Mr B, Sheffield

I thank you for your kindness and patience in dealing with my case.  It has been much appreciated and we all got there in th end! Wsihing you very best wishes for the future.

 

Ms M, Sheffied

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Ms M, Chesterfield

That was absolutely quick and fantastic. You have been great since I chose you to be my solicitor, massive thanks for all your help during the year .

Miss K, Sheffield

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you and your team for all your help.

I wish you all well.

Mr D, Chesterfield

It was extremely convenient to be able to discuss my case with Kelly before work in the morning. This avoided us missing each other, did not interfere with my work day and I knew that if I had something to deal with during the day I could discuss it with her the following morning. Our lives have been turned upside down during the pandemic and as such we all have to work more flexibly. It was refreshing and reassuring to see Banner Jones Solicitors embracing this flexibility by responding positively and dynamically to their client’s needs and pressures.

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We take data privacy very seriously, and we want you to understand and feel confident about how we collect, store and handle your personal data. If you’d like to find out more you can read our Privacy Policy.

Talk to our team

We take data privacy very seriously, and we want you to understand and feel confident about how we collect, store and handle your personal data. If you’d like to find out more you can read our Privacy Policy.