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Existing law Divorce by 5th April 2022

Proceedings issued by the court on or before the 5th April 2022 will continue to progress under existing law, whether they have been submitted on the digital system or on the paper forms.

Applications submitted under the existing law that are not issued by the court before 6th April will be returned to the applicant. They will need to complete an application under the new law and its processes.All paper applications must be received by the court by 4pm on the 31st March 2022.Any paper applications received after this deadline risk being rejected and returned to thesender, who will have to apply on the new form under the new law.


Divorce is never an expected event, but it could happened after a period of time when the relation between the spouses is irremediably.

Our Romanian solicitors can help with legal advice and what kind of options Romanian citizens living in the UK have.

A petition for divorce cannot be presented to the court before the end of a period of one year from the date of the marriage. The reason for this restriction is to discourage over-hasty decisions to end such short marriages. Also, the English Court will have jurisdiction to hear a divorce only if one of the grounds relating to the parties’ habitual residence domicile is satisfied.

The ground of divorce can be:

  1. Adultery
  2. Unreasonable behaviour
  3. Desertion
  4. Two years separation
  5. Five years separation

Beside of Romanian law, the divorce in UK can be decided only by the Court, other institutions like public notary or Embassy do not have the power to decide on divorce.

How to apply

To apply for a divorce you’ll need:

  • your husband or wife’s full name and address
  • your original marriage certificate or a certified copy (and a certified translation if it’s not in English)
  • proof of your name change if you’ve changed it since you got married – for example your marriage certificate or a deed poll

You must try to find your husband or wife’s current address if you do not know it. The court will need it to send them a copy of the divorce petition.

If you name the person your husband or wife committed adultery with, they’ll get copies of the paperwork.


You must pay a £593 fee to apply for a divorce. The way you pay depends on how you apply.

You may be able to get help with fees if you get benefits or are on a low income.

You can apply for a divorce online or by post.

Apply for decree nisi

You can apply for a decree nisi if your husband or wife does not defend your divorce petition.

A decree nisi is a document that says that the court does not see any reason why you cannot divorce.

If your husband or wife does not agree to the divorce, you can still apply for a decree nisi. However, you’ll have to go to a court hearing to discuss the case, where a judge will decide whether to grant you a decree nisi.

Apply for a decree absolute

The decree absolute is the legal document that ends your marriage.

You need to wait at least 43 days (6 weeks and 1 day) after the date of the decree nisi before you can apply for a decree absolute.

New Divorce Law ” No-fault Divorce ” from 6th April 2022

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 (also known as the ‘DDSA’) will reform the law on divorce, dissolution, and separation from 6th April 2022 by:

  • removing the requirement to provide evidence of ‘conduct’ or ‘separation’ facts and replacing this with a simple requirement to provide a statement of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage or civil partnership or to obtain a judicial separation.
  • removing the ability to defend the decision to divorce or end the civil partnership.
  • allowing, for the first time, joint applications for divorce, dissolution, and separation, meaning that couples can now apply together for a divorce, dissolution, or separation.
  • introducing a new minimum overall timeframe of six months (26 weeks) made up of a ‘minimum period’ of 20 weeks in divorce and dissolution proceedings between the start of proceedings (when the court issues the application) and when the applicant(s) may apply for a conditional order and the current minimum timeframe of 6 weeks between the conditional order and when the order can be made final. This ensures that there is a period of reflection, and where divorce is inevitable, provides a greater opportunity for couples to agree the practical arrangements for the future.
  • updating the legal language used for divorce. ‘Petition’ will become ‘Application’, ‘Petitioner’ will become ‘Applicant’, ‘Decree Nisi’ will become ‘Conditional Order’ and ‘Decree Absolute’ will become ‘Final Order’. This makes language simpler and more accessible to those outside the legal profession, and aligns across all legislation relating to divorce, dissolution, and separation.
Sole applications

Under the new law, anyone applying for a divorce or to end their civil partnership will be able to either apply jointly or apply individually. Standard applications made by one applicant are referred to as a ‘sole application’. In a sole application, the spouse applying will be known as the ‘applicant’ or ‘sole applicant’, and their spouse/civil partner will be known as the ‘respondent’. Sole applicants will not be able to change their application to a joint application, so the decision on whether to apply solely or jointly with the other party must be made at the start.

Sole applications can be made online through the digital service or on paper using the D8 form. The new paper application forms it will be available from 10am on 6 April 2022.

The court fee is 593GBP.

Similar to the current process, sole applicants are able to apply for Help with Fees where they have little or no savings and either get certain benefits or have a low income.

Respondents are not able to dispute whether the marriage has broken down. They can only dispute the application because-

  • they dispute the jurisdiction of the court in England and Wales to conduct the proceedings. For example, where neither party lives in or has any other connection with England and Wales;
  • they dispute the validity of the marriage or civil partnership. For example, if the parties have not entered into a legally valid marriage;
  • the marriage or civil partnership has already been legally ended. For example, if the marriage has already been brought to an end in proceedings outside of England and Wales.

It will also be possible to challenge proceedings for reasons such as fraud and procedural compliance.


Under the new law, there are new rules and procedures setting out how the application is ‘served’ (sent) to the respondent once it has been issued by the court.

The general rule is that the court will send the application to the respondent, but the applicant can do this on request (new Rule 6.5).

The application can be served by email, which requires a postal notification that service has taken place by email, (Rule 6.4 and 6.7A). The postal notification will be a letter sent to the respondent’s postal address telling them that an application has been made, and that a link to view the application has been sent by email. The email address provided for the respondent should be their ‘usual email address’, which is generally considered to be the email address actively used by the respondent for personal emails.

Business email addresses should be avoided where possible. Generally, if the applicant provides an email address, the application will be served on the respondent by email, with a notice confirming this has been done by post.

Should you have any questions about service please don’t hesitate our legal specialised solicitor in No-fault Divorce, Andreea Moscovici.

Joint applications

Upon commencement, the new law will allow for joint applications to be made for the first time. In joint applications, both parties will apply for their divorce, dissolution or (judicial) separation application together. Parties will be equally responsible for the application. They will be known as applicant 1 and applicant 2, rather than applicant and respondent as in sole applications. This option allows couples to apply together, reducing complexity.

Whilst joint applications are strongly encouraged, there are some instances where it might not be appropriate to do so, for example where a party has experienced domestic abuse from the other party. In these circumstances, sole applications are still available as set out above.

20-week period

For the No-fault Divorce, there is a new 20-week period between the start of the proceedings (when the court issues the application) and when the applicant(s) may apply for a conditional order. This does not apply to nullity proceedings or (judicial) separation proceedings. This will allow for a period of reflection and allow couples to resolve other issues such as child or financial arrangements.

The first Decree, Conditional Order ( the ex decree nisi)

20 weeks after issue of proceedings and presuming service has occured , application can be made for the conditional order, the first Decree.

The final decree, Final order ( the ex Decree absolute)

6 weeks after , the applicat or both can apply for the final order.

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