New “no fault divorce” laws to commence in April 2023.


Changes to divorce law

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 reforms the legal requirements and process for divorce. The act aims to reduce the potential for conflict amongst divorcing couples by:

  • removing the ability to make allegations about the conduct of a spouse

  • allowing couples to end their marriage jointly

The act also introduces a minimum period of 20 weeks between the start of proceedings and application for provisional order. This provides couples with a meaningful period of reflection and the chance to reconsider. Where divorce is inevitable, it enables couples to cooperate and plan for the future.

It will no longer be possible to contest a divorce, except on limited grounds including jurisdiction.

The Isle of Man Courts of Justice (General Registry) have been working with key stakeholders to enable a commencement date of 3 April 2023 for the new no fault divorce law and procedures to come into force.

If you haven’t started your application

It can sometimes take time to get the right documents together for your application. If you haven’t started an application yet, you may wish to wait until the new simpler procedures are available from 3 April 2023.

If you’re getting divorced and have started your application

If you have started your application this will proceed under the current legislation and procedures until it is completed or until you make an application to withdraw it. If you withdraw your existing divorce application you can start again under the new, simpler, procedures in April 2023.

If you have yet to submit an application but wish to use the existing legislation this must be received on or before 31 March 2023.

Alternatively, you can simply wait until the procedures are launched in April 2023 to start your application. 

Important dates

Whether you are an advocate or applying for a divorce yourself, remember:

  • from 31 March 2023 you will no longer be able to apply under the current procedures
  • from 3 April 2023 you will only be able to apply under the new procedures

 Additional information

More information on getting a divorce under the new procedures will be available on the Isle of Man Courts of Justice website nearer the date the legislation is brought into effect.



Please note that you cannot start a divorce application unless you have been married for more than one year.

The following sections will provide a general guide to the divorce process, as well as information about the proceedings and attempt to answer any questions or problems you may have.

Information for applicants

Information for respondents

For more information about the law, you should refer to:

You can obtain a copy of these from the Tynwald Library (contact details for which can be found on the Tynwald website), your local library or the Manx Citizens Advice Service (+44 (0) 1624 813466) may also have a copy of the Act and Rules. There may have been several changes to the Rules since they were first published so make sure that you see all relevant amendments.

Please note that the court staff cannot help you to decide what to put on the forms, or give you any advice about your case. The court will always recommend if you are unsure of the relevant Acts/Rules which relate to applications, or have queries regarding the contents of applications you should seek legal advice and/or contact a Manx advocate. The names of Manx advocates who are Family Law practitioners may be obtained from the Isle of Man Law Society.

Page last updated on 19 December 2022