Divorce Procedure

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The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2022 received Royal Assent in June 2020 and came into force on 6th April 2022. The Act reforms the divorce process to remove the concept of “fault”.

Click here to read our latest blog on the change in law.

The new legislation replaces the 5 “reasons / facts” (required to show irretrievable breakdown) with a statement of irretrievable breakdown. It removes the potential to contest a divorce, permits a joint application and simplifies the language replacing the terminology “decree nisi” and “decree absolute” with “conditional order” and “final order”. The changes are designed to reduce conflict between separating couples, allowing parties to focus on the key issues such as children, finance and property.

The change in legislation also applies to the dissolution of civil partnerships.


In April 2011 the law changed, making it a requirement for separating couples (save in certain specific circumstances) to attend a Family Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM), prior to applying to the court to determine the financial proceedings arising from a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, or child arrangements.

The purpose of the MIAM is to establish whether mediation may assist in reaching an agreeable solution and avoiding litigation as far as possible.

A Mediator’s role is to assist parties in finding a solution to the issues between them and if at all possible to avoid the costs and emotional strain of a court battle.

Parties are not required to attend a MIAM in certain circumstances, to include where there are allegations of domestic abuse or child protection issues.

Family Court

Proceedings are required to be issued in the Family Court.

In most cases, you will have to consider mediation by attending a Family Mediation Information and Assessment meeting before applying to court to determine the arrangements for children or financial proceedings following divorce or dissolution proceedings.

You can find your nearest Family Court by entering your postcode using the court and tribunal finder on the GOV.UK website. HM Courts and Tribunals Service will inform you where your case will be heard.

How Long Does a Divorce Take?

A divorce can take as little as six-seven months from start to finish, although it may take much longer. This is dependent on the complexities of the finances involved, which are normally dealt with between the time of conditional order (formerly decree nisi) being granted and the application for final order (formerly decree absolute).

Finances are a vital part of any divorce or separation, and it is essential that you deal with your finances when separating.

To read our recent blog on the Frequently Asked Questions of Divorce click here

How Do I Pay for a Divorce?

LEGAL AID is not available for most private family law cases, to include divorce or disputes concerning children and finances, save in certain specific circumstances, such as where a party has suffered domestic abuse. However, it may be possible to obtain legal aid for family mediation if you meet the financial criteria.

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We understand that the divorce procedure can be stressful for you and your family. This is why our experienced and professional divorce solicitors and legal experts tailor their service to meet your needs. Feel free to visit the closest office page to learn more.

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