FAQs: Immediate divorce


Can you get an immediate divorce?

You cannot apply for a divorce unless you have been married for at least one year (or two years in Northern Ireland). There are no grounds in the UK for ‘immediate divorce’.

What if you want to remarry?

To remarry you must be legally divorced from your former spouse. You must have obtained the decree absolute, which is the final confirmation of a divorce, before you can remarry. The decree nisi is granted when the court is satisfied that you can divorce, but you must then apply for the decree absolute to officially end the marriage.

What are the alternatives to divorce?

The alternatives to divorce are legal separation, a judicial separation or an annulment. Annulment declares the marriage null and void, treating the marriage as if it never existed. A legal separation can be achieved simply by living apart and separating your lives from each other. A separation agreement can be entered into to formalise your agreement on children, money and property issues. A judicial separation is a court order that releases the parties from the obligations of marriage but it does not legally dissolve the marriage.

When can an annulment be granted?

An annulment can only be granted in very specific circumstances where the marriage is shown to have been invalid. This includes if one of the spouses was already married, or one of the spouses was under 16 years of age, or if the marriage is between people of a prohibited relationship. There are other more complex grounds for annulment which you should discuss with a family solicitor.

How can you speed up the divorce process?

The divorce process can be sped up if your spouse agrees to the divorce. You can prepare the divorce petition jointly so that there is agreement on the grounds of divorce, the facts supporting the petition and the arrangements for children, money and property. You can also ensure that there are no errors in the documents and that they are served correctly.

If you would like to obtain legal advice on immediate divorce, we can help to put you in touch with local specialist family law solicitors for free. Call our experienced case handlers on 08001 221 2299 and let our dedicated case handlers match you with an expert solicitor.

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