You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience and security.
Call us on 020 7426 0400

Royal assent for no-fault divorce from 2021

After more than 30 years of campaigning by matrimonial lawyers, new laws to spare divorcing couples having to apportion blame for the breakdown of their marriage took a step closer in June, as a Bill seeking to reduce family conflict received royal assent.

‘At the moment, when a couple has made a mutual decision to separate, they have a stark choice,’ explains Michelle Uppal, a collaborative lawyer and mediator in the matrimonial team with Miles & Partners in London. ‘A couple has to endure years of separation, or one spouse has to make accusations about the other’s conduct, such as unreasonable behaviour or adultery, before a divorce can be granted.’

The new laws will instead allow a spouse, or a couple, to apply for divorce by making a statement of irretrievable breakdown. Couples will be able to make this statement jointly, avoiding the needless blame game.

The Ministry of Justice has indicated that a new and extended minimum time frame of six months from the initial application stage to the granting of a divorce will also be created. This will offer couples the time to reflect and turn back, or where reconciliation is not possible agree important arrangements for the future – such as how best to look after their children.

The changes are expected to come into effect late 2021.

This will help solicitors to support separating families to come to constructive, amicable arrangements that benefit everyone involved, particularly children.

How we can help

For further information, please contact Michelle Uppal in the family law team on 020 7426 0400 or email

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.

Michelle Uppal, Miles & Partners Solicitors, London

Michelle Uppal

Mediator and Solicitor | Head of the matrimonial department

Connect with me: