What happens when one spouse doesn’t want a divorce?
The end of a marriage is emotionally draining, but it becomes worse when one partner disagrees. However, you can still apply for a divorce on your own if your spouse is uncooperative thanks to the new no-fault divorce.
The most significant element in the recent divorce law reform is removing the need for blame in a divorce and that you are able to get a divorce even if your spouse does not want to. In a no-fault divorce, you can apply for divorce solely based on your marriage breaking down without having to apportion blame on either party and thereby dragging the process out longer than necessary.
The law intends to minimise potential hostility between a couple during the process by removing the requirement for fault. However, there is a 26-week wait time between the divorce application and the final order. This ‘reflection period’ allows couples to reflect on their relationship before committing to a divorce.
Here is how to apply for a divorce alone:
- Check your eligibility: You can get divorced if you were in a legally recognised union in the UK for more than one year and the relationship is irreparable.
- Make arrangements: Plan for children and property, including who will live in your family home.
- Apply for the divorce: Provide your and your spouse's full names, current addresses, and the original marriage certificate. It will cost ₤593, but you can get help with the fees if your income is low or you are receiving benefits.
- Apply for a conditional order: Once your divorce application is issued, wait 20 weeks before you can apply for a conditional order. You will still be married even after conditional order is granted.
- Finalise the divorce: Wait 43 days from the date of the conditional order before you apply for the final order to end the marriage.
Can you contest a no fault divorce?
You cannot contest a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership (if you are applying for a divorce after April 2022). The new divorce law only lets you challenge a divorce on the grounds that the marriage was not legal in the first place.
More significantly, the new system stops a vindictive partner from contesting the divorce and trapping their partner in an unhappy union. In the old divorce system, abusive partners were able to challenge divorce applications to drag out the process or keep the other person in the marriage longer.
Can you turn back on a no fault divorce?
The new Act introduces a minimum 20-week period between the beginning of the divorce proceedings and applying for the conditional order. This time is designed to allow couples to reflect and if necessary, change their minds or make arrangements regarding children, property, and finances if reconciliation is impossible.
Throughout the process, there is time after each stage to allow you to turn back if you change your mind, but once you have the final order, this officially ends the marriage.
How can GloverPriest help?
If you need help applying for a divorce our team of specialised family law solicitors is here to give you the support and advice you need.