Divorces generally take around four months if you and your soon to be ex-spouse can agree on the following important matters:
The more you can agree on, the quicker the divorce will be. If you cannot agree on whether you should divorce (this is known as a contested divorce) it will take longer to divorce and will be more costly.
The formal divorce process has four main steps:
You will need to show the Court that your marriage is beyond repair. The Court will accept this if you can show that certain "facts" apply. These facts are set grounds for divorce such as the fact that you have been living apart for at least 2 years or more and you both wish to divorce. There are 4 other "facts" which you may be able to use.
The divorce petition
One of you then applies to the Court for a divorce, by completing a divorce petition and sending this to a Court together with the Court fee. One of our solicitors can help you with this or do it for you, usually for a fixed fee.
Applying for the decree nisi
When the Court has the petition and you have both told the Court you agree to divorce, you can apply for a decree nisi. If the Court is happy with the documents filed and thinks that a divorce is appropriate, it will issue a decree nisi confirming that it sees no reason why you should not divorce.
Applying for the decree absolute
The next stage is the application for the decree absolute which is the document that legally ends your marriage. An application can be made about 6 weeks after the court issues the decree nisi.
Before making the application you should think through whether there are reasons for delaying the completion of the divorce, such as, finalising your financial or property arrangements. This is something we can help with.
If your spouse begins the divorce process but does not apply for decree absolute you must wait an additional three months and then you can make the application. This means that you would have to wait until four months and two weeks after the decree nisi was issued before your application could be made.
The issuing of the decree absolute finalises the divorce.
Frequently Asked Questions
When do I sort our money and property matters and the care for the children?
The answer is - the sooner the better. But before discussing this with your spouse you should take legal advice. If you cannot agree on the arrangements, you can ask the Court to decide for you, and to make a Court Order setting out how things are to be dealt with. You should consider whether Court proceedings are necessary before the end of the marriage, but the decision is not always made then and may be made after the end of the marriage.
I am in a hurry. What can hold things up?
If you can't agree about the split of property, money, pensions and other important matters the divorce may be delayed while these matters are dealt with. However, you can deal with these matters separately in a process called ancillary relief which is a separate process to the divorce. An ancillary relief order may be made after the divorce is completed.
If the Court is not happy with your plans for caring for the children, it can refuse to let you divorce. In such a situation you would first need to make acceptable arrangements for the children before the divorce could proceed.
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