How Long Does it Take to Obtain a Divorce?

A divorce lawyer in Fitzrovia makes notes

For most people, divorce is a stressful and difficult time, making the prospect of a quick resolution very appealing.

Divorce proceedings themselves (initiated by way of a divorce Petition) has largely become an administrative process, which does not require the parties to attend court. This is except in relatively narrow circumstances where the other party may decide to defend and/or refuse to agree to a Petition.

In simple terms, obtaining a divorce in effect gives both parties the right to remarry. However, the finalisation of the process (which is achieved by the Court granting ‘Decree Absolute’) is usually delayed until all financial matters have been resolved. The process of sorting out the finances is separate from the divorce and this is where the delay will usually occur.

Because decree Absolute will affect certain rights to inheritance and pensions, it is rarely advisable to complete the divorce until a legally binding financial agreement is also reached between the parties. The divorce proceedings will usually be paused at the ‘decree Nisi’ stage (the interim Order of divorce), whilst the parties negotiate and agree the division/settlement of finances.

The petitioner could push the divorce through fairly quickly by obtaining Decree Absolute, if say they were planning to re-marry. However, this can be prevented by the respondent, if say they stood to be disadvantaged financially and/or they had other valid reasons for arguing the parties should remain married until a binding financial settlement was reached.

Ultimately a petitioner is also subject to the court’s administration speed and on a best-case scenario, a divorce could potentially be achieved within 2-3 months – in most cases, this will be 4-6 months.

Broad ways of reducing delay can be achieved by the parties agreeing the form and content of a Petition before it is issued at Court and reaching early agreement in the finances. This usually involves a good working/amicable relationship between parties and/or sensible/robust advice from specialist matrimonial solicitors, who can help provide clear and constructive guidance from the outset.

All of this will not only reduce a considerable amount of emotional fall-out from a divorce but also the incumbent legal costs. The priority at KMJ is always to provide cost-effective advice and support tailored to your particular circumstances and the level of complexities in your case.

It is highly recommended that you obtain specialist matrimonial advice before starting your divorce (or say you are in receipt of a divorce Petition) in order to ensure you that understand all of the consequences/benefits for you and the other party.

To speak with Che or a member of the KMJ team, call 020 7436 6767. In the alternative, please complete the initial enquiry form and a member of the team will be in touch to discuss your matter.

For more information on KMJ and the members of the team, click here.

After four years working at a top-tier, award-winning family law firm in Hertfordshire, Che joined KMJ in January 2018. Prior to this, Che trained and qualified at a high-profile commercial and media firm based in London’s West-End.