How Long Does a Divorce Take in the UK?
Couples frequently ask how long a divorce takes. They often want the process to complete as quickly as possible so that they can separate their affairs and move on with their lives. For those who are unmarried but cohabiting, this is a relatively simple matter of separating their financial affairs and assets. However, for those who are married, the formal divorce process as handled by many a divorce solicitor in London or elsewhere is a little more complicated.
On the 6th April 2022, the law in the UK changed to introduce the concept of no-fault divorce. This change to the law made redundant all previous reasons for separation, including unreasonable behaviour and adultery. All divorces conducted in the country since this point are known as no-fault divorces and the option to contest a divorce has been removed.
Timeline for a divorce
The law change introduced a new divorce process and the timeline from application to the dissolution of a marriage is now 26 weeks, or 6 months. There is a 20 week period following application, during which time you will receive notice that your application for divorce has been issued, that a copy of it has been stamped by HM Courts and Tribunals Service and you will receive an acknowledgement receipt and a case number.
At the end of the 20 week period, you will be able to apply for a conditional order which will go before a judge to determine whether you can complete divorce proceedings. This process will take 43 days (1 day past 6 weeks), following which you will be able to apply for a final order. Once this is confirmed, you will officially be divorced.
Factors that can impact the timeline
A straightforward and amicable divorce that is handled by a divorce solicitor in London can, therefore, complete in just over 6 months. There are instances, however, where divorce proceedings may take considerably longer. This includes cases which require the separation of joint funds, such as the repayment of secured loans or the sale of property or assets, or where there is disagreement over child custody and maintenance.
Advice for expediting the process
It is recommended that any potentially contentious issues are highlighted as early as possible into the divorce process in order that your chosen family law divorce solicitor in London or elsewhere can take proactive measures to ensure a timely and satisfactory result is achieved for you and your family.
Where disagreements exist over property or debt repayment, it may be necessary to engage the services of a financial advisor or debt charity who will be able to make tailored recommendations to achieve an acceptable outcome.
The needs and desires of any children involved must be considered and time will be saved by ensuring that older children, in particular, understand their options and are provided with the opportunity to contribute to discussions that will affect their lives.