Divorce can be extremely distressing yet surprisingly a question often asked is how quickly can a divorce be obtained. Of course the answer is: it depends.
For a divorce to be granted there has to be an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage with no prospect of a reconciliation. If you cannot demonstrate this then you cannot get divorced.
The irretrievable breakdown of marriage can be established if one of the following is true:
- Since the date of the marriage, your spouse has committed adultery and you thereafter ceased to cohabit together as husband and wife (this is and will continue to apply exclusively to heterosexual relationships even after same sex marriage is introduced).
- Since the date of the marriage, your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to cohabit with them.
- You have not cohabitated with your spouse for a period of one year and your spouse consents to the granting of the divorce.
- There has been no cohabitation for a period of two years.
A Simplified Divorce is the fastest way to obtain a divorce and is essentially a form filling exercise. You must not have cohabited with your spouse for one year and have your spouse’s consent or been separated for at least two years. This simplified procedure can only be used if there are no children of the marriage under the age of 16 and no financial issues to resolve. The relevant form can be downloaded from the court website and is completed by the individual raising the action who must then sign an affidavit at the end of the form stating that everything in the form is true. This affidavit can be sworn before a notary public (most often a solicitor), a Justice of the Peace or a Commissioner of Oaths. The form is then submitted to the court along with the appropriate fee (currently £107). A divorce order is usually granted within 4-6 weeks of lodging the relevant paperwork with the court.
If there are financial issues still to be agreed upon or there are children of the marriage under the age of 16 you must use the Ordinary Procedure, which will require the assistance of a solicitor. A list of the parties’ assets requires to be lodged with the initial paperwork when a financial order is sought. If the action is not defended by your spouse a court order may be passed within approximately 6-7 weeks from raising the action.
If the action is defended because there are young children and custody and contact are disputed, or a financial order is requested or indeed the allegation of adultery or unreasonable behaviour is denied then it is extremely difficult to state with any certainty how long proceedings will take.
If you have any queries regarding divorce please contact Fiona Wayman on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0141 552 3422 to talk to her.