How long does it take to get divorced?


If you are in a marriage which is in trouble, you may be considering a divorce. Filing a request for a divorce order can be a straightforward process, but as many will know it can be by its very nature difficult and protracted. Ensuring a swift and favourable outcome for all parties is the main objective for any family law solicitor, who you should consult for legal advice at the earliest opportunity.

Due to the varying complexities of both financial and family matters within any marriage, the duration of a divorce process is liable to significant change from case to case. Add in the fact that both parties may not even be willing to sit in the same room, or may have wildly different views on what might constitute a fair settlement and you can see how different each divorce case can be.

Filing the divorce petition

The first step in any divorce is the filing of a petition by your solicitor to a family court, along with statements concerning the care of children. This is then delivered by the court to your spouse, the respondent. Your spouse’s solicitor must then file a return indicating receipt and whether they intend to defend the divorce. This should take seven days, although in acrimonious circumstances even this can take considerably longer.

Decree nisi and decree absolute

If the divorce is not contested, and the District Judge is happy that everything is in order, then they will return a certificate stating the date upon which a decree nisi will be awarded. The decree nisi is a provisional document. It then takes six weeks for the decree absolute, which effectively ends the marriage and permits remarriage.

Despite all of this, even the quickest of divorces typically take three months or more from start to finish. The real delays in any divorce proceedings are in the discussion and agreement of the grounds for divorce, the division of assets and the provision of ongoing care for children. This can take months to finalise, and is perhaps best achieved by both parties approaching a mediator through your solicitor.

If you would like to obtain legal advice on divorce, Caven can put you in touch with a local specialist divorce solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local divorce solicitors please call us on 08001 221 2299 or complete the web-form above.

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