How Long Does Divorce Take UK – Steps To Take

This post will be explaining the question “How long does Divorce take UK“.

The actual time it takes to move from filing a divorce petition to receiving a Decree Absolute in the United Kingdom is invariably about 6 months. This is because the divorce process is actually very slow.

The Decree Nisi could take 3 months while the Decree Absolute spans about 10 months to acquire.

Another form of delay could spring from where you live and the court your application is filed because the impact of COVID has greatly restructured some court proceedings and arrangements.

In this article we will give suggestions about things to avoid before embarking and provide some useful tips for speeding up your divorce application process.


What To Know About Divorce Before Getting Started

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To apply for a divorce, you must have been married for at least 12 months.

A type of divorce where both partners agree to end their marriage is most likely to be much quicker and a lot easier, compared to the one in which one party contests the divorce.

The divorce proceedings are exactly the same irrespective of the reasons for the divorce or whether you hire a divorce lawyer or do it online by yourself.

One of the things that can affect the timing of a divorce is delay at divorce center (courts) and a lack of compliance from one the partners.

It is always quicker to file the divorce petition online rather than using the paper-based procedure.

Do not use websites that promise cheap divorce packages, because you will still have to pay the divorce application fee.

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Factors That Affect The Timescale Of A Divorce

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  • If  The Divorce Is Accepted By Both Parties

If the divorce is accepted by both partners, then the process can immediately move to the next step.

  • If One Party Accepts And The Other Doesn’t

If one of the partners does not accept the divorce petition, then they have 21 days to give their reasons.

This will usually requires a court hearing, or in some situations more than one court hearing.

In this court hearing, both parties are present and a judge decides whether or not to allow the divorce.

This can greatly affect how long divorce takes UK.

  • Acknowledgement of Service

As soon as the court has confirmed that the details of your petition are correct, they will send your partner a copy of the petition with an acknowledgment of service to complete.

If the respondent returns the acknowledgment to the court within the required timeframe, the court will send you a copy of the acknowledgment of service.

After a period of 2-4 weeks, you will be able to move to the next stage and apply for the decree nisi.

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  • Issuance of Degree Nisi

In situations where one of the partners is not going to defend the divorce or the court has granted the right to divorce, the next step is the issuance of a Decree Nisi.

The Decree Nisi is a legal documentation that shows that the court’s agreement for a divorce to be carried out.

The timeframe is between two and eight weeks, but is dependent largely on whether the divorce is defended or not.

  • Issuance of Degree Absolute

The partners can proceed to apply for a Decree Absolute from six weeks and a day after the Decree Nisi has been pronounced in court.

The period of six weeks and a day is the minimum period and it can in some cases take longer.

It is common practice to wait for a court order pertaining to your finances before the Decree Absolute is applied for.

After the Decree Absolute has been issued to the party involved, then the marriage is successfully dissolved, and the divorce is official.


Grounds On Which Divorce Is Based

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The grounds that form the basis for the divorce will definitely affect the duration of the process. They include:

  • Adultery- the time frame does not have to exceed the year of marriage.
  • Desertion- your spouse must have left you for two out of the last two and a half years before you can proceed.
  • Irrational behavior- a year of marriage has to pass.
  • Two years separation- Couples involved must have lived apart for 2 years and the other partner must agree to the divorce.
  • Five years separation- Partners must have lived apart for 5 years.

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Divorce Settlements

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When the question “How long does divorce take UK”, the divorce settlements should be considered.

When the two parties are in agreement voluntarily rather than through the court, the divorce tends to be faster and amicable.

The decree absolute ends the marriage, but it will not resolve the financial commitments that the parties may have granted to each other.

This is where the divorce settlement comes in, to divide and share any joint assets, including what happens to the family home.

In cases of pensions and child maintenance, agreement has to be reached on how payments have to be made to or among the parties.

So, a divorce settlement that is agreed upon peacefully by both parties will be made legally binding by applying to a court for a consent order.

Nevertheless, the settlement may be complicated and slow down the process, because using the court to resolve these matters can make it more acrimonious and also increase the length of time it takes to finalize matters.

Therefore, other possible ways to resolve these issues, such as mediation or collaborative law are strongly recommended.

This will prevent matters from escalating and thereby bringing agreement from both parties who become somewhat happy because things are done within a faster timeframe.

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Requirements Before Getting A Divorce

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  • You will need your marriage certificate to help you, fill in the details on the form correctly – a typical example is an address of where

you got married.

If you fill in any of the details wrongly, your application will be sent back to you. To order for a copy of your marriage certificate,

you can check here.  Copies will cost £11.00.

  • You might need to apply for a new visa and check whether you can stay in the UK long term, if you are dependent on your partner’s

visa,  because you are going to lose your visa status once your divorce is made final.

If after your divorce, you don’t have the rights to stay in the UK you might have to leave.

  • The ‘Petitioner’, the person applying for a divorce has to pay the fee of £593 when you send your divorce application to the divorce

center. If you cannot afford the fee, get help on here

If you feel your partner should make refunds on the payment you have made, you can tick a box on the form which appeals to the court to consider asking your partner.

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If the court rules in your favor, your partner will have to pay you the money back when your divorce has been finalized.

  • You will need to file your divorce petition where you live, not where you hail from or where you got married. So, for example, if you

are Irish and got married in Ireland, but you reside in England, you would need to get divorced in England.

  • Applying online processes faster than applying by post. You can apply online via Gov.UK

If you’re applying by post, It is important to fill in your partner’s name and address on the form, after which, you’ll make 4 copies of the form, send 3 and keep 1.

If your reason for the divorce is adultery, you will have to include the name of the person, Make 5 copies of the divorce form, send 4 and keep 1.

A copy will be sent to the person so they can respond. If you cannot reach an agreement with your partner whether to get divorced or why you’re getting divorced, you could go to mediation.

  • Mediation helps you reach an agreement, rather than having it imposed by the court.

Make sure to get a solicitor who specializes in divorce. In most cases, you may need to look outside your local area.

A solicitor helps you decide on which of the 5 facts for divorce you want to use and also guides you to finding whichever evidence you would need.

They can also act as a go-between and speak on your behalf to your ex-partner and their solicitor so you don’t have to.

Before meeting with your solicitor, think hard enough about what you want to ask him or her, you may even prepare a list in advance.

Be sure to ask as many questions as you like. Questions like:

  • How long will the process take?
  • How much it will cost?
  • How often they reach out to you?
  • What will happens when you go to court?

Your marriage certificate, a passport or driving license for identification, a bank statement or utility bill that is less than 3 months old and reflects your address, should be taken along when going to meet your solicitor.

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In need of a good Divorce Lawyer?

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Reach out to Laurie Avadis, a consultant solicitor, resolution qualified family law mediator.

Reach him via 020 3993 0959, or contact 020 3811 3589, for specialist solicitors who have extensive experience in handling matters relating to all aspects of family law and divorce.

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