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No Fault – Ending The Divorce Blame Game

April 5, 2022 Family Law

In England and Wales, the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 comes into legal effect on 6 April 2022, bringing the biggest change to UK Divorce Law in 50 years. The 2020 Act ends the ‘divorce blame game’ by introducing the No-Fault Principle, removing the adversarial basis of many divorce cases. This legal shake-up brings the law of England and Wales in line with the current law of Divorce in Scotland.

The law of Divorce in Scotland has the long-standing No-Fault principle. With this, there is a removal of fault and blame from the divorce process. Couples are able to seek a divorce solely on the basis that their marriage has irretrievably broken down. In England and Wales, those who wish to divorce currently must show their marriage has broken down, because of adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion or due to living apart for a number of years. The difference in laws is reflected in the numbers with 95% of divorces in Scotland being granted on ‘no fault’, compared to 68% of divorces on the grounds of adultery or unreasonable behaviour in England and Wales. With this principle, couples have the option to proceed with a Divorce, without the fear of being financially penalised. Also, this principle does not require one person to make any allegations about the other, which may possibly increase conflict. Rather, the principle discourages an already difficult and distressing time from becoming more acrimonious and opens the way for divorce to be a much less accusatory process.

In Scotland, couples can apply for a divorce in two ways:

Before filing for divorce, you or your spouse should consider if any of the grounds are available to you. Currently, in Scotland, there are five possible grounds for divorce.

If you are considering divorce, please seek the advice and guidance of a solicitor in Scotland. For information and advice on any related matter, please contact our New Business Team by telephone on or by completing our , to arrange an initial consultation with our specialist divorce solicitors.

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