The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 reformed the divorce process to remove the concept of fault. Many felt that divorce law was out of touch, particularly following the 2018 Owens v Owens case where the courts refused a contested divorce petition presented by Mrs Owens, on the basis that the trial judge could not conclude that Mr Owen’s behaviour towards his wife amounted to behaviour so unreasonable that a reasonable person could not be expected to live with him. The Courts stated that it was with regret they were not able to grant the petition. This generated media interest and following the public reaction to the outcome and perceived unfairness to Mrs Owens, the act was passed in June 2020 and came into force on 6 April 2022.
Recent statistics published by the Office of National Statistics indicate that from April 2021 to April 2022 12,000 divorce applications were filed. In April 2022 12,978 divorce applications were filed. This increase can be explained in part by couples waiting to issue until the no fault divorce law came into effect. 10,207 were sole applicants and 2,771 were joint applications. Being able to make a joint application is a new aspect to divorce law. Previously this was not possible.