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How long does a divorce take?

The national average wait time for a divorce to be finalised, from start to finish, has been falling consistently for over five years and it has never been easier or more straightforward to separate. There are lots of guidelines online to give you an idea of how long your divorce might take, and though some divorce providers quote a figure of 22 weeks, our number is around 12 weeks. This is an average of all our divorces that are processed around the UK, but it usually holds true for most people. It’s worth noting that several factors can influence exactly how long it takes to fully divorce, and they can range from things within your control to things you might need a little bit of extra help with. To set yourself up for the most straightforward divorce, you should make sure you and your partner are on the same page and have agreed to the divorce on terms you have addressed with each other. You should also have been married for at least one calendar year before you begin proceedings, as this is the minimum length of time you must be married before you can legally divorce.

Making it move quicker

Most couples who divorce quickly have been separated for some time first, but don’t worry if that isn’t the case for you. The only real reason long separated couples have an edge is because often they have moved on from the more emotional aspects of the process and are focussed on the logical and business-like aspects of completing formal paperwork. If you and your spouse are recently separated, make sure that you are emotionally prepared for the pitfalls that can come with going through a divorce and ensure that you both definitely want to go through with it. Some people choose to have counselling first, or they get some form of coaching and support to make sure they feel strong enough for how gruelling the process can be in acrimonious cases.

Agreeing to the basic principles of the separation you’re both looking for will set you up in good stead for the legal proceedings. You should both make an honest list of your finances and come to an agreement between yourselves about what would be a fair solution in the dissolution. Take into account whether one of you will be the primary caregiver and have the children living with them, how much will this cost? How will they be taken care of? These are all important things the court will want to know. You can begin your divorce before the arraignments have been finalised, so don’t let that hold you back from filing. Many people use the time it takes for the court to process their divorce as an opportunity to negotiate their settlement. When filing your divorce petition, the temptation might be to choose your nearest divorce centre but wait times can vary hugely around the country. Some centres might be inundated with petitions and this will slow down your divorce massively, but we can help you find one that isn’t too busy with other work and give you an edge.

Your spouse

Once you have filled in your petition and filed it with the court, it will be sent to your spouse. If they respond with their Acknowledgement of Service Form promptly then you can trim up to 21 days off the process compared to them choosing not to respond at all. You will then receive a case number, and at the 8 week mark a judge will deliberate on whether your marriage has broken down with no going back. If they agree, you will soon both be in possession of your Decree Nisi certificate. We recommend filing your Consent Order at the same time as your Decree Nisi application. This Order is the only way to guarantee that the financial deals you and your ex-spouse reach are enforceable by law and your partner can’t take you to court in the future to ask for more money or assets. Clean Break Agreements help tie up financial matters like maintenance and division of property, savings, pensions etc. Our Personalised Plus Service package includes a Clean Break Order and Lifetime Will as standard at a great saving.

Getting your Decree Absolute is the final step, and you can apply for this 6 weeks and one day after you receive your Decree Nisi. Roughly two weeks later you will have your official certificate that states you are legally divorces and the process is finalised. You can now remarry!

It might be tempting to opt for a DIY divorce and try to complete and file all of the appropriate forms yourself, but with twenty years of experience and a team of dedicated case managers we can offer unrivalled support and insight into the process that can shave weeks off your divorce. Request a call back today for free, impartial advice and see if we’re right for you.


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