How Long Does A Divorce Take?

How Long Does A Divorce Take?

By Connie Shelley

If you and your spouse have come to the decision to get a divorce, this is an incredibly emotional and difficult time for you both.

The law on divorce was previously outdated and overly complicated. In April 2022, new legislation was created to completely change the process and introduce a no-fault divorce.

No-fault divorce – what does this mean?

The logic behind the no-fault divorce is to promote an amicable process by removing the element of blame. There is also no minimum time of separation required which avoids unnecessary delays and, more importantly, keeps costs as low as possible.

The process

The first stage will be to submit your application. Online will always be quicker, however, the paper option is available if you prefer.

Once the application has been processed, the other party will need to return an Acknowledgement of Service within 14 days.

There is then a mandatory wait of 20 weeks before you can move to the next stage. The idea is that both parties can consider their situation and have confidence in their decision. This also allows time for both parties to seek legal advice in regard to their finances and any children of the marriage. 

Getting a financial order is incredibly important and the decision to settle the finances should not be taken lightly. Simply being divorced does not mean your finances are now separated. Without a Court Order, either party, at any time, can try and make claims against the other; they also have the responsibility for the other’s debt.

Once the 20-week period has ended, you will then be able to apply for the Conditional Order (previously known as the Decree Nisi). This confirms that the Court cannot see any reason as to why you cannot have your divorce.

At this stage, the goal is that you and your spouse have reached a financial agreement which can then be sent to the Court for their approval. Without your Conditional Order, you cannot submit any financial settlement to the Court.

This is where the divorce timetable can be significantly different from one couple to the next. If the financial situation is complicated and includes a number of assets, or you simply cannot agree, this will delay the process.

From the date of your Conditional Order, you must wait at least 6 weeks and 1 day before you can apply for the final stage. Only in extreme and exceptional circumstances can this period of time be shortened by a Judge (impending death of a party or the birth of a child for example).

The final stage in the divorce process is to apply for your Final Order (previously known as the Decree Absolute). The Final Order dissolves the marriage resulting in the divorce becoming binding and finalised.

It is always recommended that the Final Order is not applied for until a financial agreement has been made legally binding due to your spousal rights.

The average time, therefore, that it will take to get divorced will be 6-9 months. As you have read, however, this will depend on the complexity of your situation.

Need our help?

Everys have a specialist Family team who can assist you with all areas of your divorce including your finances and any child arrangements.

We offer a fixed fee one-hour appointment where we can discuss your situation in detail and provide expert advice. Please call our team on 0800 8840 640 or, alternatively, complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will contact you –