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The divorce process in England and Wales can take between four and six months. If one party decides not to co-operate or there are disputes over finances it can take much longer.
The time it takes for you to obtain a divorce will depend on the following factors;
  • Whether both parties are in agreement to the divorce.
  • If you have an address for your ex-partner.
  • If you can agree on the reasons for your divorce.
  • How quickly you are able to reach a financial settlement.

You cannot apply for a divorce in England and Wales until you have been married for at least 12 months.

In this article, we will show you how you can get a quick divorce without spending a fortune on solicitors fees.

Divorce centres have reduced capacity and staffing due to COVID-19. This has caused a delay in divorce cases finalising.

The divorce process for most people is quite slow and boring.

Depending on where you live it can take up to 4 months to get a decree nisi and 12 months for the decree absolute.

In most areas of England and Wales, the divorce process from start to finish will take 4 to 6 months. There are others, such as London where cases are likely to take much longer.

It doesn’t matter if your divorce is simple and agreed, it must still go through the court’s system. When there are backlogs at Court centres, this can cause delays to the divorce process.

To get an understanding of how long your divorce may take, you need to first understand the process.

This short introduction to the divorce process will help give you an idea of the lengths at each stage.

Step 1 – D8 Divorce Petition

To start a divorce, you must complete a divorce petition form, known as ‘D8 divorce petition’.

If you are doing your own divorce you must ensure that you complete the form correctly with no mistakes.

If you make a mistake on the divorce petition, your case will only be looked at again once they return to it. This can be weeks.

So, if you’re looking for a quick divorce, double-check your divorce petition is correct.

Step 2 – Acknowledgement of Service

After a period of 6-8 weeks, the court will send the Respondent a form known as ‘Acknowledgement of Service.

Alongside this form will be a copy of the divorce petition.

This form is sometimes referred to as ‘the notice of proceedings.

Respondents have 8 days to complete this form and return it to the court.

The form is very basic and asks the Respondent if they agree to the divorce or wish to defend it.

If your spouse doesn’t respond in time you might need the court to deliver the papers personally.

Step 3 – Decree Nisi

After a period of approx 4 weeks, you can apply to the court for a ‘decree nisi’.

This is on the basis that the Respondent has returned the Acknowledgement of Service.

The judge will review your case and if approved, he/she will set a ‘pronouncement date’.

Only after a period of 6 weeks and 1 day of this date may you move on to the next stage of the divorce proceedings.

Step 4 – Financial proceedings

Now that your decree nisi is ‘pronounced’, you can apply for a financial order.

A financial order, commonly known as a consent order will separate your money and assets.

Divorce alone does not end your financial relationship.

A consent order is the only way to legally split any property, money or pensions within the marriage.

Dealing with your finances as part of a divorce can be confusing and stressful, but don’t overlook its importance.

If you’re unsure about your finances then speak to our friendly advisors on 01793 384 029. You can also use Live Chat or WhatsApp.

Step 5 – Decree Absolute

Once 6 weeks and 1 day have passed, you can submit the final application. The final step is filing an application for decree absolute.

This document will legally end your marriage. You should expect a waiting period of between 6-8 weeks before receiving confirmation.

Both parties will receive a decree absolute. Keep the document safe as you will need it to remarry or to change your name.

Would You Prefer To Divorce in 5-months Instead of 8-months?

There is a quicker and easier way to divorce compared to hiring expensive solicitors or spending hours doing it yourself. Divorce-Online will manage everything for you from start-to-finish. You track each step on your phone or laptop.

View our Divorce Services

The length of your divorce process largely depends on the capacity of the court.

But there are many things you can do to ensure that your divorce doesn’t take years to sort out.

1. Agree the reasons for divorce with your partner

Try speaking to your spouse before submitting a divorce petition if possible.

If you give them the heads up then it will come as less of a shock when the divorce papers arrive from the courts.

It can also prepare them for the next steps, which can help move you onto the next stage of the divorce process.

If the Respondent can reply to the divorce petition on time, it’s the first step to swiftly getting a divorce.

2. Be prompt with your paperwork

There are many separate applications to make when going through a divorce.

Be sure to understand each application at the beginning of the process so that you are ready.

If you can submit the paperwork to the court on time it will help speed up your divorce.

3. Avoid making mistakes on paperwork

We’ve touched on this earlier on in the article, but it’s so important to take your time.

Divorce cases where there are mistakes on the paperwork will take 4-8 weeks longer at least.

This depends on how busy the court is and which paperwork the mistakes are on.

All divorce cases must go through the courts. There is no ‘quickie divorce’ that by-passes the divorce process.

It’s used to highlight uncontested celebrity divorce cases that aren’t drawn out in court.

There are searches on Google for ’12-week divorce’, which is near enough impossible.

We encourage everyone to do their own research before signing up for a ‘quickie divorce’ by;

  • Reviewing their qualifications or accreditations
  • Their trading standards profile
  • Their complaints procedure
  • Their reviews on popular third-party websites

Going through a divorce is hard enough. And we would hate for you to sign up to a service with such expectations only to receive something much worse.

The fastest way to get a divorce in England and Wales is to do it online.

This has been the case for many years now and continues to be the case today in 2020.

The efficiency of doing your divorce online is what makes it quicker. The divorce process does not change.

With an online divorce, there is no;

  • Completing legal forms.
  • Visiting offices to provide basic information.
  • Waiting for solicitors to complete simple forms.

If you’re looking for resources on getting a quick divorce or doing it online, then here are some guides;

  1. How to start your divorce online
  2. How to apply for a divorce online

Doing your divorce online may be new to you, which can be overwhelming.

We have put together a simple graphic to show you the exact steps involved.

Getting a divorce online

Steps to getting a divorce online

Divorce-Online is the leader in online divorce and since 1999 we have helped over 180,000 couples.

In most cases, you should expect to receive your decree absolute within 5-6 months. This is 3 months quicker than the national average of 33 weeks!

Can I Get Divorced Online?

Use our simple online qualification tool to see whether your situation is suitable for an online divorce. It’s completely free and takes less than 2 minutes to complete. We don’t require any personal details, just simple questions.

This post was written by Mark Keenan. Editor of Divorce-Online and Managing Director of Online Legal Services Ltd. Mark has been writing about divorce and related subjects for over 20+ years and is an expert in legal marketing.

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