Can I get a divorce without any reason?
Yes, the new no-fault divorce law means that you can get a divorce without any reason. Before, you had to give a specific reason for why you wanted to get a divorce, but now, you just need to state that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.
“Irretrievably broken down” means that the relationship is permanently over and that there is no way of going back. In the past “irretrievably broken down” had to be evidenced by giving reasons (such as adultery or desertion), but this is no longer required.
How long do you have to be separated before divorce in the UK?
There is no legal time limit in the UK for being separated before you can divorce. The only time constraint is that you must have been married for at least a year before you can petition for a divorce.
Before the law changed in April 2022, people had to be separated for 2 years before they could get divorced, unless they were able to give a reason for the marriage ending such as adultery or unreasonable behaviour.
This likely led to many unnecessarily unamicable splits since couples had to come up with negative reasons for separating just so that they could move on with their lives. The law was geared towards a blaming culture which potentially added more stress to an already unpleasant situation.
The new no-blame divorce law means that no reasons need to be given which promotes a more amicable and civil break-up, although this may not always be possible.
Can you divorce without the other person signing?
As part of the no-fault divorce process, the other person will be given notice of proceedings and an acknowledgment of service form to notify them that the divorce process has started. They will be given instructions as to what to do next and will be asked to respond within 7 days of getting the notice.
If the other person does not respond on time or at all, the process may continue without their response, providing the court is content that the person actually received the correspondence.
The other person can either agree or disagree with the divorce petition. Either way, if the application was made after 6th April 2022, the proceedings can continue. Partners are no longer able to contest a divorce unless they have a legal reason to do so. Unlike before, they cannot simply disagree with a divorce just because they do not want to separate. However, disagreeing with a divorce will lead to a court hearing.
The divorce can be finalised no earlier than 3 months, 6 weeks, and 1 day from when the conditional order was accepted. The final order to finalise the divorce can be applied for if the other side has not applied for this.