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The process of divorcing a partner can be complex and time-consuming. Despite the introduction of the ‘No-Fault Divorce’ in April 2022, which aimed to simplify and reduce the emotional strain of the process, the mandatory timescales involved are often overlooked.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a ‘quickie divorce’ in law. The timeline is structured to ensure that both parties have adequate time to reflect on their decision and to negotiate any necessary arrangements.

Key Timelines in the Divorce Process

Cooling-Off Period: After the divorce application is issued by the court, there is a mandatory 20-week cooling-off period before a conditional order (previously known as a decree nisi) can be applied for. This period allows both parties to reconsider their decision and ensures that the divorce is not pursued too quickly.

Final Order: Once the conditional order is granted, there is an additional waiting period of at least 6 weeks and 1 day before an application for the final order (previously known as a decree absolute) can be made. This brings the minimum duration to finalise a divorce to around 26 weeks.

What can influence the divorce timeline?

Several factors can affect how long it takes to finalise a divorce:

  1. Court Processing Times: The time required for the family court to process applications can vary. Delays may occur due to administrative backlogs or other issues.
  2. Financial Settlements: Negotiating a financial settlement can extend the timeline. Decisions regarding the division of assets such as the family home, savings, pensions, and businesses need to be carefully considered and agreed upon.
  3. Child Arrangements: If there are children involved, determining custody and visitation rights can add time and negotiation strains to the process.
  4. Disputes: The level of conflict between the divorcing parties can also impact the timescale. Amicable separations tend to proceed more quickly, whereas contentious divorces may require additional mediation or court hearings.

Seeking Advice

If you require advice or assistance with divorce or any other family-related issues, the Family Law team at DMA Law is available to provide support and answer any questions you may have about the divorce process. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please do not hesitate to reach out to the team. Our experienced solicitors are here to help you navigate this challenging time with expertise and compassion.