Is it too late to issue divorce proceedings before no fault divorce comes in?
Is it still possible to issue divorce / dissolution proceedings now before no fault divorce comes in? I have heard the court is closing the online portal for applications.
On 6 April, the new system of ‘no fault’ divorce / dissolution comes into practice, but there are some circumstances where it is appropriate for couples to takes steps now to immediately initiate divorce / dissolution proceedings. Perhaps most significantly, it is important to take urgent steps where there is a risk that alternative proceedings could be issued in another country, which may have a less favourable system for you or your children. If it is necessary to progress a divorce / dissolution under the current law, you must submit your divorce / dissolution petition by 4pm on 31 March 2022 whether by post or using the court’s online system. After this time the online system will be suspended so that the final updates can be made in readiness for the ‘no fault’ system start on 6 April and applications sent in the post will not be accepted or processed.
What happens if you urgently need to submit an application for divorce / dissolution between 4pm on 31 March and 9am on 6 April 2022?
There is provision for applications to be considered under the current rules up until 4pm on 5 April. There must, however, be genuine urgency. By way of example, if a delay would mean your spouse may issue in another country thereby leaving you on the back foot in relation to any financial proceedings that you might need to issue in this country; or if a freezing injunction is urgently required to stop assets from being sold, spent or squandered. In such circumstances, you will need to email or post your application to the court, using a dedicated email / postal address and set out the reason for your urgent application.
If you have any questions about how you can issue an application for divorce / dissolution now or the new no fault system and how it will impact your situation then please contact a member of our specialist family and matrimonial team who will be happy to assist you.