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No fault divorce. Ending the blame game.

red paper heart ripped in two with wedding rings pushed towards it from top and bottom

Remarkable changes have come about. On 6th April 2022, the biggest reform of divorce law has taken place in half a century. Shockingly, an individual can now actually end their marriage without blaming the other party for the relationship breakdown.

You may think I am being overdramatic here but allow me to put it into context for you, Resolution have been campaigning for this sensible change for as long as I have worked as a family lawyer (which is much longer than I care to admit).

The shiny new Act bringing about the reform is The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 (also known as the ‘DDSA’ because don’t we all just love an acronym). New applications are now being accepted by the Court.

The most notable key change of no-fault divorce allows a couple to get divorced without blaming one person or enduring lengthy separation periods. All a party needs to do is make a statement of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, serve the other party and, after they acknowledge the application, wait for the 20-week reflection period before making their next move.  Once this has passed, notice can be given to proceed with the divorce, and the court can then make a Conditional Order (previously the Decree Nisi). After six weeks and one day, the court can make a Final Order, which is instead of the Decree Absolute. The process will take a minimum of 26 weeks and can be dealt with as a sole application or a joint application. As before, any financial settlements and child arrangements will still be dealt with separately.

The papers tell us that the new divorce procedure will be quicker.  In reality, the cooling off period of 20-weeks means the divorce process can take anywhere between six to eight months.  This is a similar amount of time to the old system.

A no-fault divorce may also save costs.  The Court fee is the same and legal fees are likely to be very similar.  However, removing the blame at the beginning of a divorce will hopefully encourage a better relationship between couples. This means less delay caused by disagreements and, therefore, a lower overall cost.

Like all other solicitors, I remain unsure as to how this process will work in reality and what practical changes it will mean for my clients. I am sure there will be some surprises along the way.  There always is. However, I am delighted I no longer have to play the blame game. Anyone who feels unhappy in their marriage should have a right to end it without having to justify themselves and this new procedure will give them the freedom to do just that.

Get in touch 

If you would like any advice or help navigating this brave new world, or have any other family law issues, please do contact me on 01924 291122 or email me at

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Rachel SteadRachel Stead
13:19 26 Nov 23
Can’t recommend Catteralls enough. Eleanor, Claire and her team have just helped us with a recent house sale. They were quick and efficient with responses. Even with me ringing and emailing plenty (very annoying) but nothing was too much for them. They did all things on our side promptly and kept us in the loop at all times. Will be recommending them and using again in future if needed.Thanks so much.Rachel and Harry.
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17:20 04 Nov 23
Good service at a reasonable price
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07:30 16 Oct 23
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Allison RobinsonAllison Robinson
13:53 02 Oct 23
We used Catterall's for the sale of a property and had excellent service throughout. Everything was done promptly, efficiently and accurately. We had experienced lots of errors with a previous firm and saw a marked contrast in the quality of service and professionalism from Catteralls. Danielle and Sue were knowledgable and helpful and were able to answer questions about the errors from the purchase of the property with a different firm so that we could move forwards quickly with the sale. Prices were reasonable and competitive but I would choose the firm again regardless of price because of the experience. It is the second time we have used the firm (previously for a different purchase) and I can highly recommend them.
08:59 17 Sep 23
My wife and I engaged Catteralls Solicitors conveyancing services to both sell our old house and to buy our new house. We can thoroughly recommend their services in this regard. In particular we would like to give excellent feedback to Ms Eleanor Parkin, our Conveyancing Executive at Catteralls, who dealt with us throughout the buying and selling process. Some aspects of that process became problematic but Eleanor went above and beyond that which was expected of her and ensured that any problems were resolved effectively and efficiently to ensure a smooth completion. Our engagement with her was always friendly and professional and we would be happy to recommend her professional services to others. Thank you, Eleanor!
Caroline WilsonCaroline Wilson
13:13 25 Jul 23
Thank you Catteralls for helping us with our recent house sale!! I will certainly recommend you to family and friends.Catteralls would be the first solicitor I came to if I needed any help in the future! Thanks again for everything. Fantastic communication, making a hard time in our lives that much easier. I can not fault a thing.☺️
22:51 17 Jun 23
I've used these for the sale of a rental property and my will and am also currently using them for a purchase of a residential property. Used them because my usual solicitors let me down. I can't comment on price because I didn't really shop around. A family member recommended them, and they've been good for me so far. Here, I've never felt like I haven't been able to speak to someone when I've needed to and they've always been on hand to explain anything I didn't understand. So far so good.
Kevin SlatteryKevin Slattery
09:53 08 Jun 23
Jenny and her team, saved the day after our sale and purchase almost fell through due to the poor performance of our previous solicitor. She was responsive, highly efficient and keep us informed throughout the whole process. We would only use Catteralls for any future conveyancing requirements. Many thanks Jenny, Sarah and the rest of the team!
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Jess looked after my case. It was most helpful in that I was able to do everything via email, so all I had to do on the day was sign some paperwork, therefore only needing to make the one visit, which was perfect for me.Jess was efficient & organised and made the process a smooth one.Thanks Jess I appreciate all you did for me. 🙂
Aneka RandallAneka Randall
17:04 09 Dec 22
Paul and his team have worked on our sale and purchase. The team have all worked extremely hard, going above an beyond. Everyone in the chain has commented how efficient they have been. I will certainly recommend to family and friends and would be the first solicitor I came to if I needed any help in the future! Thanks again.
Jade NuttJade Nutt
20:07 02 Nov 22
Jenny and her team were brilliant with our house sale and purchase. They answered all our queries, made sure we understood everything and kept things moving along. We are very great full for your hard work! Thank you!