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How Long Does a Divorce Take to be Completed?


Can I be divorced by tomorrow?

We regret to inform you that under the current system the answer is sadly no.  Whilst you (and many others) may live in hope that they can achieve relational closure from their spouse or civil partner by way of a divorce instantaneously, unfortunately this is far from reality.  

Where a party wishes to instigate divorce proceedings, whether this be with the assistance of a solicitor or by their own volition, the process of divorce from start to finish will typically take anywhere between 8 – 12 months.  Though in a number of unfortunate cases, it has been known to take far more than 12 months to obtain a divorce. This is despite the divorce process being a simple paper exercise (or online exercise for those who qualify) and consisting of only three stages, namely the Divorce Petition; Decree Nisi; and Decree Absolute (which will dissolve your marriage).

Whilst the paperwork required as the Petitioner for each of the three stages can be prepared swiftly, the speed at which the relevant paperwork can be submitted is dependent on the other party’s willingness to engage with either yourself or your solicitor, their agreement that there should be a divorce, and their acceptance of the “fact” of your petition.  In the event your spouse or civil partner is obstructive, there is the risk that the upper end of the timescale above will be relevant to your case, or as a worst case scenario, this timescale could be extended further. Nonetheless, even where both parties are seeking a swift resolution, this will not ensure the divorce goes through any quicker than the Court’s ability to process the paperwork, but it does however ensure the divorce is not delayed any further.  

A prominent issue that is ruining the dream of achieving a divorce overnight, is as a result of each divorce unit situated throughout England & Wales experiencing an unprecedented number of divorce petitions.  There is also the further issue that most parties are under the impression that upon divorcing your spouse or civil partner, your finances are simultaneously resolved. Again, I regret to confirm that this is incorrect.   As you should be advised by a solicitor, it is imperative that you resolve the outstanding matrimonial finances as part of your divorce by way of a legally binding financial order as this will serve to protect your financial position from your soon to be ex-spouse or ex-civil partner post-divorce.  As you so rightly guessed, this will however add further delays to the process of obtaining a divorce, particularly if you are unable to resolve your outstanding finances swiftly, as your draft financial order can only be submitted to the Court once you have obtained your Decree Nisi.  

Whilst the above news seems rather dim, there is light at the end of the tunnel as it is possible to achieve a divorce and resolve your outstanding matrimonial finances within 12 months.  Rather poignantly, the earlier you instigate divorce proceedings, the earlier the clock starts ticking in order to achieve a divorce.

After all, what is 12 months of your life, if not to achieve the relational closure you so dream of?

At our firm, we have a specialised family team who are able to assist you with the divorce process (and the resolution of your outstanding matrimonial finances), and should wish to speak with us regarding the above, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 9878156. 

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