I want a “no fault” divorce. When is the right time to speak to a solicitor? 
Many are eagerly awaiting the introduction of no-fault divorce on 6 April 2022. It has been a long time coming and will enable couples to formalise the end of their marriage or civil partnership without casting blame or having to wait for 2 years or more from the date they separate. 
As a result, many couples who are facing separation or who have separated in recent months will be waiting until April 2022 before they start their divorces. 
Under the no-fault divorce regime, couples must wait a minimum of 20 weeks between starting the divorce and applying for the Conditional Order (currently called Decree Nisi). There will then be a 6 week wait between the Conditional Order and the Final Order (currently called Decree Absolute). The new divorce will therefore take a minimum 6 months and probably slightly longer. So, when should they first consult a Solicitor? 
My advice would be NOW. The divorce proceedings themselves are only a small part of a much larger puzzle. What generally takes far more time, effort, consideration and compromise is resolving the financial issues that arise upon divorce. These financial issues include the claims that parties have against one another on divorce or dissolution for property, lump sums, maintenance and pensions. 
The finances often take 6 to 12 months to conclude. If tensions between the couple are running high or their finances are not straightforward, that timescale can very easily double or worse. 
I would therefore recommend that if you want to start a no-fault divorce in April next year, you consult a specialist family solicitor now. That way, by the time the divorce proceedings start, you will hopefully be well on your way toward reaching a financial settlement and in many cases will have reached agreement by the time your Conditional Order is granted. The financial settlement can then be converted into a legally binding Court Order with the assistance of your solicitor, to tie in neatly with the conclusion of the divorce proceedings. 
See my blog: https://www.birkettlong.co.uk/site/blog/divorce-and-separation/the-divorce-portal-makes-divorce-easier-but-beware for the reasons why you should not rush to finalise your divorce before sorting out these financial claims. 
If you plan to divorce in April 2022 or would like to consider all of your options before making a decision on when or how to divorce, please get in touch for a free 15 minute telephone call. 
Mel Loxley 
Partner at Birkett Long LLP 
01206 217384Click on this text to edit it. 
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