As matrimonial lawyers, one of the most common questions we’re asked here at Vines Legal by clients considering divorce is, "How long will it take?" The truth is that the duration of the divorce process can vary significantly depending on various factors. While everyone wishes to complete the process in a timely fashion, it's crucial to recognise that each case is unique and may require a different approach. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the divorce process and highlight key factors that can influence its duration.
In short, the divorce process usually takes at least 6 months. There may be complications, however, that can considerably extend the process, including complex financial issues, child arrangements, assets, property, and pensions. That’s why we’d always recommend that you seek legal representation right from the beginning. An error at any stage can be costly, sometimes difficult to put right, and may leave you in a worse position than you would have been if you had used a solicitor from the start.
No Fault Divorces
The good news is that the recent change in divorce law has made the process a little simpler. The new no-fault divorce option ends the need for separating couples to apportion blame for the breakdown of their marriage, allowing them to apply for divorce by simply stating their marriage has broken down irretrievably.
Before the law changed, one spouse would have to make accusations about the other’s conduct, such as ‘unreasonable behaviour’ or adultery, or alternatively face years of separation before the courts would allow a divorce to be granted, regardless of whether they had mutually decided to separate. This new law essentially negates the need to place blame, so a spouse, or a couple jointly, can now apply for divorce by simply stating their marriage has broken down irretrievably.
A large factor that significantly impacts the duration of a divorce is whether the separating couple can agree on all the relevant issues, such as property division, child custody, and financial arrangements. This type of divorce tends to be quicker and less expensive because there is no need for lengthy court battles. On the other hand, if financial and child arrangements cannot be resolved between the two parties, you may need to go to court, therefore leading to more complex negotiations and potentially a trial.
The complexity of the financial arrangements involved in the divorce can significantly impact the timeline. High-value assets, shared business interests, and multiple properties may require thorough investigations, valuations, and negotiations. Reaching a fair and equitable financial settlement can be time-consuming, but it is essential to secure your financial future post-divorce. Collaborative approaches, such as mediation and negotiation, can expedite the process by fostering constructive dialogue between both parties.
If the couple has children, the divorce process can be more intricate due to child arrangements and support matters. The courts prioritise the well-being of the children and reaching a suitable custody arrangement can take time. Additionally, if one party contests living or contact arrangements, it may result in a more extended court battle. Mediation and alternative dispute resolution methods are often encouraged to facilitate amicable agreements in child-related matters.
Engaging experienced legal representation can streamline the divorce process. A skilled matrimonial lawyer can guide you through the complexities of the law, ensure all necessary documents are prepared accurately, and represent your interests in negotiations and court hearings. Having an expert on your side can speed up the process and protect your rights during this emotionally challenging time. Remember, every divorce case is unique, and the timeline can be challenging to predict precisely, but with the right approach, you can navigate this challenging process with greater confidence and peace of mind.
Here at Vines Legal, we’re experts in matrimonial and family law and have many years’ experience navigating the divorce process. For immediate, friendly, and professional advice, call us on 01246 555610 to arrange a free initial, no obligation consultation.