24 May 2023
Family & Matrimonial
When a marriage has broken down, it’s natural to want the divorce settlement to be over and done with as soon as possible.
If you’ve recently ended a marriage and are now separated from your spouse, one of the first questions that will likely cross your mind is how long it takes to get a divorce in the UK.
Considering that divorce laws differ between countries in the UK, but the law in both England and Wales is the same, this article will only cover this jurisdiction.
With the introduction of the no-fault divorce in England and Wales, it now takes a minimum of 26 weeks or six months to get divorced.
A no-fault divorce removes the need to blame one of the parties for the divorce, in theory simplifying divorce practices in both England and Wales.
While it previously might have taken as little as 3 to 4 months to get divorced depending on the circumstances, no-fault proceedings include a required “cooling off period”. This gives both parties ‘a meaningful period of reflection and the chance to reconsider’, thus lengthening the process.
Seeking advice from an experienced divorce solicitor is essential to ensure that divorce proceedings are carried out as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
While the minimum length of time it takes to get divorced is around 6 months, it’s important to note that the length of a divorce can be impacted by a number of circumstances.
These circumstances include, but are not limited to:
A factor that can impact how long it takes to get divorced in the UK is whether you have made a sole or joint application for divorce.
With the introduction of the no-fault divorce, a separated couple is able to petition for divorce together.
You might, however, decide to make a sole application for divorce if your spouse is no longer cooperating.
That said, this means the responsibility is on the solo applicant, as opposed to the couple.
While this won’t change the overall time frame of your divorce, how quickly the divorce lasts will depend on your personal circumstances and commitments aside from the responsibilities involved with the legal proceedings.
Another factor that can impact the length of divorce proceedings is the speed with which you can reach a financial settlement.
In some cases, circumstances might result in the couple in question being unable to reach a financial settlement.
There are a number of steps that need to be taken if this is the case, including an application to the Court. If you can’t agree, ‘a judge will decide how the assets will be split’.
It is strongly recommended that you seek legal advice from a family law solicitor when you first separate to discuss the next steps.
Another factor that can impact the length of divorce proceedings is how quickly you can agree on arrangements for any children you have together.
When it comes to making any arrangements for your children, emotions can run high.
This can significantly slow down divorce proceedings if you can’t agree on suitable arrangements.
It’s important to put your children first throughout the divorce, but this isn’t always easy when you’re too close to a situation.
As such, the support of a family solicitor will help you to decide the best course of action for your children whilst minimising the stress of the situation.
Lastly, a significant factor that can impact the length of your divorce is whether you can agree to the terms of the divorce or whether you need to go to Court.
As we’ve discussed above, there are numerous steps involved if you cannot come to an agreement on the various terms of the divorce.
For instance, to reach an agreement for your finances, the steps that are involved include an application to the Court, a First Directions Appointment, a Financial Dispute Resolution Appointment, and a Final Hearing.
As each stage has its own set of requirements and potential complications, it’s vital to seek legal advice.
At Harding Evans, our expert divorce solicitors in Cardiff and Newport understand that getting divorced is an emotionally challenging and unsettling time.
Aside from being legal experts in divorce, we always strive to deal with each case with the highest level of sensitivity.
Get in touch with a member of our team today to discuss the next steps.
Harding Evans is a trading name of Harding Evans LLP, a limited liability partnership, registered in England & Wales (registered number: OC311802), authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA number: 419663).