No Fault Divorce: Divorce by Mutual Consent

CFL officeA no fault divorce occurs when both husband and wife have lived apart for a continuous period of two years.  Both agree that their marriage is over and either of them could apply to the Court for a divorce on this basis.

As the parties will have discussed the process beforehand and will actually be living apart, arrangements will generally have been made with regard to finances. For example, they may have decided to sell the family home and each purchase another property, or one partner has moved out on the basis that the house will be sold and the sale proceeds divided at some point. As there is this two year period, many parties enter into a deed of separation to deal with what is to happen during the two year period. The deed of separation will generally have been drawn up by a Solicitor who will also have advised on the impact this may have in relation to the divorce proceedings.

Usually, parties will decide that they want a divorce on this basis, separate for the two-year period under the terms of a deed of separation and then, at the end of the two-year period, one party will commence divorce proceedings. A Consent Order, which uses the terms of the deed of separation to set out the financial arrangements, will be part of the divorce proceedings. The Consent Order is then legally binding as part of the divorce proceedings.

Living Apart

It is not strictly necessary to actually live in different properties.  You could live apart for two years in the same house but it can be difficult to establish with the Court that you have truly lived separately. That would involve sleeping, eating, cooking, etc. separately.  A Court is far more willing to accept a divorce based on two year's separation with consent if the parties can show they have lived in separate accommodation.

Is a No Fault Divorce the Cheapest Option?

Many people assume that this is the cheapest option, but this is not necessarily the case. It is unfortunate that there is no other way of establishing a no-fault divorce than going through this two year period, which obviously takes time and may inconvenience the parties. If you want to get on with the divorce, then this may not be the option for you. A divorce based on unreasonable behaviour can still be amicable, provided the examples used are listed sensitively and with the co-operation of the other party.

You will need to seek legal advice with how best to proceed with an amicable divorce and whether you wish to use this ground or another set of circumstances.

To discuss your individual circumstances, please contact us to book a consultation.

Next: How Divorce Affects Children


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