Thursday 7 April 2022

Divorce, Dissolution and Separation - 2020 Act now in force

Divorce is undoubtedly a miserable experience and has been made all the worse by legal requirements to either wait for a long period or to point the finger of blame. Calls for reform have been made for many years.

From 6 April 2022, the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 ( is fully in force - (see Commencement Regulations - SI: 2022/283).

Explanatory Notes accompany the 2020 Act (but are not part of the Act). See also the Ministry of Justice announcement.

The 2020 Act removes the need for couples to either

apportion blame for the breakdown of their marriage (or civil partnership) or to wait for a long period prior to divorce / dissolution (up to 5 years). For the future, it will usually be possible for a divorce or dissolution of civil partnership to be concluded speedily. 

The 2020 Act amends the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 , the Civil Partnership Act 2004 and certain other legislation. Family Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2022 have been made to give procedural effect to the revised legislative framework brought about by the 2020 Act.

Questions relating to future arrangements for any children and property are not affected by the 2020 Act.

The new law applies to proceedings started on or after commencement date (i.e. 6 April 2022). 


The 2020 Act brings in new terms - petitioner becomes applicantdecree nisi becomes a conditional order; decree absolute becomes final orderdivorce decree becomes a divorce order.


Applications for divorce / dissolution can be made online. A fee of £593 is required ! (See the following link for further details including help for those on benefits or low income).

Get a divorce: How to apply - GOV.UK (

Articles etc:

The 2020 Act is considered in some detail in - 

a paper published by family law barrister Hamish Dunlop of 3PB - Divorce for a modern age: the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 (

and by solicitor David Hobson at The procedure for England's new divorce law (

Such detailed discussions show that the reform may not be entirely without difficulties.

A notable part of the background to the new law was the case of Owens v Owens [2018] UKSC 41 - discussed at Law and Lawyers: Owens v Owens ~ Supreme Court dismisses Mrs Owens' appeal (


End of blame game in divorce laws in England and Wales - BBC News - 'No-fault' divorce comes into force across England and Wales

7 April 2022

1 comment:

  1. Nice post! This is a very nice blog that I will definitively come back to more times this year! Thanks for informative post.
    Real Estate Lawyer in Canada