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How long does a divorce take?

As specialist divorce solicitors, we’re often asked ‘how long does a divorce take in the UK?’. The answer is that it depends on a number of different factors.

Celeb divorces are never far from the headlines. We regularly read about stars who have headed to court and are granted their divorce in no time at all.

The reality is that getting a divorce within a matter of days, or a couple of weeks, is not possible. When the press report on these stories, it’s usually the decree nisi that is being referred to, rather than the final decree absolute.

So when considering the question ‘how long does a divorce take in the UK’, it’s worth bearing in mind that there is no thing as a ‘quickie divorce’.


How long does a divorce take in the UK? It depends on your circumstances…

The divorce process officially begins when the petitioner applies for the divorce.

Once the respondent has been served the divorce petition, the decree nisi can be applied for. As long as the grounds for divorce are accepted (and the respondent does not want to ‘defend’ or ‘contest’ the divorce), the decree nisi will then be pronounced in court.

At this point, you are still married.

The decree absolute (the final element of the divorce process) cannot be applied for until at least 6 weeks and 1 day after the decree nisi has been pronounced.

Usually, from start to finish, the divorce process takes from around 4 to 6 months.

However, the answer to the question ‘how long does a divorce take in the UK’ is often not so simple.

HHow long does a divorce take


How long does a divorce take in the UK? The financial settlement is often the deciding factor…

Normally, it is not the divorce process itself that takes the time. Reaching an agreement regarding the financial settlement (or asking a judge to decide for you) can be a lengthy and complex process, depending on your circumstances.

If, for example, you and/or your spouse are high net worth individuals with international assets and investments, then the divorce process could take much longer, as your financial settlement could be far from straightforward.

On the other hand, if your financial situation is relatively simple and you and your spouse reach an agreement early on in the divorce process, you could find your divorce could only take a few months.


How to speed up your divorce

As you can see, answering the question ‘how long does a divorce take in the UK?’ really depends on your individual circumstances.

Seeking legal advice is highly recommended, so that you can make sure you don’t make any errors on your divorce papers, which could potentially slow down the process.

In addition, it’s normally recommended that you attempt to reach an agreement about the reason for your divorce before submitting the divorce petition, so that there are no unnecessary delays further down the line. A solicitor should be able to advise you if this is appropriate in your circumstances.

Finally, make sure to file all of your paperwork on time.


Contact our expert divorce solicitors for advice on how long does a divorce take

For more information call our divorce solicitors on 0845 862 5001 or email mail@austinkemp.co.uk.

Our expert family law solicitors offer a nationwide service. We have client meeting office facilities available, in order to have face-to-face client meetings / conferences as and when required in:

Leeds Office: St Andrew House, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5JW

Wakefield Office: Market Walk, Wakefield, WF1 1QR

Halifax Office: Old Lane, Halifax, HX3 5WP

Huddersfield Office: Northumberland Street Huddersfield, HD1 1RL

Coventry Office: Warwick Road, Coventry, CV1 2DY

Canary Wharf Office: 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LB

Please contact us for more details.

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26th November 2019

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