How Long Does It Take To Get Divorced?


19 November 2019

By Farhad Islam

I often meet clients who have an assumption that they can get a "quick divorce" – In England and Wales there is no such thing as a “quick divorce”.

The time it takes a Court to process a divorce application can vary depending on the circumstances of the divorce and any backlog in the Court Administration processing centre. 

Usually a divorce can take between 6 – 12 months, if it is not contested (disputed) by your spouse.

It is also very common for people to assume that upon Decree Absolute being made, this also stops financial claims. Whilst Decree Absolute will legally end your marriage, it will not necessarily end your matrimonial financial commitments to your ex-spouse.

What does this mean?

If you and your spouse have any assets, you will need to decide how these will be divided between you. Common things to consider include how to divide the equity of the family home and if there are any pensions. This is known as the Divorce Financial Settlement.

There is no timeframe on the Divorce Financial Settlement and essentially this can go on for a number of years if the parties cannot agree. There are various options when dealing with financial settlements and this can be via mediation, arbitration, solicitor's negotiations or Court Proceedings.

If, like me, you like a 'celeb update' now and again, you may have recently read about Kate Beckinsale's divorce from Len Wiseman, which finalised four years after their separation. After meeting on the set of Underworld in 2003, the 46-year-old British actress married Wiseman a year later, before separating in late 2015. He filed for divorce a year later, alleging her "unreasonable behaviour".

It has been widely reported in the press that Kate’s marriage to Wiseman was finally officially over, after a judge "signed off on the property settlement".

If you do not have the legal knowledge, you may easily perceive that Kate Beckinsale's divorce took "four years to conclude" however, this is often not the case as the parties may well have gone through protracted negotiations outside of the divorce proceedings in order to conclude matters.

All of our family lawyers are members of Resolution and will be happy to assist you with any Family Law issues.

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This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.