Sometimes relationships cannot be retrieved. In this instance, a divorce may be necessary. For around fifty years, the laws around divorce had some fundamental issues, and as of April 2019, this has now been changed.


One of the problems with UK divorce law has been that in order to achieve a divorce quickly, there has to be some kind of fault assigned to one party. This has led to what has been referred to as “empty shell” marriages as it can take up to five years for a marriage to be deemed irretrievable.

This has also led to the additional complication of contested divorces. While this is a relatively small issue (estimated to affect 2 per cent of cases), it does have some horrible implications- some abusers have been known to use these rules in order to prevent their partners from leaving. The changes will look to remove the ability to contest.


It is important to note that these new laws do not affect the “two-step” process of granting a divorce. There would still need to be a period of separation prior to granting a “decree nisi” (effectively signalling a divorce will be granted) before the issuing of the “decree absolute” (making the divorce official).

What this does do is take away an element from the process, whereby fault needs to be assigned to one side of the other. This could be elements such as being abusive or infidelity, as well as revealing personal issues that people may not necessarily wish to discuss in court and could lead to further problems for friends and family involved.

With the introduction of these new rules, it would be possible for a couple to jointly apply for this, thereby removing the need to assign individual blame to either side.


When it comes to divorce, there are likely to be issues that will need to be settled. This will include how you would divide your money or assets or who will live in your current property. If you have children, who will have custody and maintenance payments will also need to be addressed.

It can also cause complications if you are based in the UK on a dependent’s visa, as you will lose that status once the divorce is finalised. This would then mean having to apply for a new visa.

Making the application

It is possible to apply either via post or online. Remember to include either the original marriage certificate or a certified copy, as well as including the fee. In some cases, it may be possible to get funding if you are not able to fund it yourself.

We can help

Divorce can be a hard process to go through, and at Larcomes, we not only want to guide you through the legal aspect but also to engage with you during what can be an emotional and stressful time. For more information or to discuss this with our team, please contact us today.