How Long Does it Take to Obtain a Divorce in the UK? banner


How Long Does it Take to Obtain a Divorce in the UK?

  • Posted on

Are you thinking about getting divorced but wondering how long it will take? In this article, our family law solicitors explore how long divorce and family law proceedings take to finalise.

Online and London Family Law Solicitors

For family law legal advice call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form.

No-fault divorce proceedings

No-fault divorce proceedings sound as if they provide a quick divorce but court rules prolong the process even if you and your husband or wife are both keen to get divorced.

In England and Wales if you want to start divorce proceedings the process is to apply for a no-fault divorce by filing a divorce application. You can lodge an application on your own or you can respond to an application made by your spouse or you can make a joint divorce application with your husband or wife.

The advantage of no-fault divorce proceedings are:

  • There is no need to blame your husband or wife to get a divorce – you just need to say that your marriage has irretrievably broken down
  • There are only very limited circumstances in which a no-fault divorce application can be opposed by your husband or wife
  • Normally you do not need to attend a court hearing to get a no-fault divorce

No-fault divorce proceedings timeline

Most family law solicitors will tell you that it takes a minimum of six months to get a no-fault divorce. The divorce timeline is as follows:

  • Apply for a divorce as a sole or joint applicant
  • Court issues divorce application
  • Application sent to any respondent to the divorce application
  • Applicant (or applicants) file a statement saying they want to go ahead with the divorce – the rules say there is a 20-week delay before you can take this step and that is why no-fault divorce proceedings take around six months to complete
  • Court makes conditional order of divorce
  • Applicant (or applicants) ask the court to make the divorce final – the rules say you must wait six weeks from the date of the conditional order before you can apply for the final order of divorce
  • Court makes final order of divorce – this final order ends the marriage but does not prevent future financial claims by your ex-husband or former wife

The financial settlement timeline

Although it takes around six months to get divorced you can reach a financial settlement a lot quicker than that or resolving financial claims can take a lot longer.

In an ideal world, when you split up you will reach a divorce financial settlement with the help of solicitor negotiations or family mediation. That agreement can be recorded in a separation agreement so you can get on with selling or transferring the family home and sorting out the division of other assets. Once your conditional order of divorce has been pronounced your family law solicitor can submit an agreed financial court order to the family court for approval so you have the security of a binding financial court order.

If you can't reach a financial settlement with the help of family lawyers or mediators then you may need to start or respond to a financial application. If financial proceedings are started there are normally three court hearings; the first appointment hearing, financial dispute resolution hearing, and final hearing. The time it takes to get to a final hearing depends on whether you need expert reports, the complexity of the financial disclosure and your assets, and available court time. If you want to use a speedier process then family arbitration may be the best option for you if you cannot reach an agreement. That is because a family arbiter is like a private family law judge and an arbiter can normally provide you with an earlier arbitration date rather than waiting for a court hearing.

It can sometimes be tempting to do nothing about your divorce financial settlement and just concentrate on getting your divorce order. That may be a mistake as years later your ex-husband or former wife could make an application for a financial court order and claim a share of your pension, ask for equity out of your property, or ask the court to make a spousal maintenance order. Ideally, you need to ask for a clean break financial court order to be made at the time of the divorce to give you peace of mind and long-term financial security. That way you can grow your assets knowing that they are protected from any further financial claims.

If you have questions about no-fault divorce proceedings or how best to reach a divorce financial settlement our specialist family law solicitors can help you.

Online and London Family Law Solicitors

For family law legal advice call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form.

Related Posts

How to Choose a London Family Law Solicitor

Sorting Out What Happens to a Rental Property in a Divorce

Property Values, Volatility, and Divorce Financial Settlements

How does the court divide assets on divorce?

    Get in touch

    Please fill in the form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.