Often one of the first questions that clients ask our Family Team is how long does a divorce take?
Andrew Stynes, Head of our Family Team, explains that if it is a straight forward divorce and proceedings are not delayed by finalising financial issues between the divorcing couple, the process will take between 4 and 8 months.
Whilst this may seem a long time, there are a number of steps to take.
The procedure is that a Divorce Petition is prepared, approved by the Petitioner (one spouse from the divorcing couple – the other becomes known as the Respondent). Generally, a copy of the Divorce Petition will be sent to the Respondent, so that they will be aware of the contents of the Petition before it is issued at court. This allows them an opportunity to seek and deal with any amendments before the Petition is lodged with the court, so that, as far as possible, the document lodged with the court is in an agreed form.
Once the court receives the Petition, they will issue the Petition and forward a copy to both Petitioner and Respondent. The Respondent will also receive a form of Acknowledgement of Service which they complete, confirming that the Petition has been received and that the divorce is not defended. The Respondent signs this form and returns it to the court.
The court will forward a copy of this form to the Petitioner who then files a statement with the court confirming that the Petition is true and that the signature appearing on the Acknowledgement of Service is the Respondent’s signature. This statement is lodged with the court with an application for the matter to be listed for pronouncement of Decree Nisi.
The court will list for the matter for the Decree Nisi to be pronounced, usually a month or 6 weeks after the date on with they receive the application. Once the Decree Nisi has been granted, there is a statutory delay of 6 weeks. After this, the Petitioner may apply to the court for the Decree Nisi to be made Absolute.
Andrew concludes “The Decree Absolute is the final step in the divorce and, as indicated above, the entire process can take between 4 and 8 months. Financial matters and children issues are dealt with separately, although often these matters can run alongside the divorce proceedings. Taking these steps is rarely easy, but the Family Team at Frettens offer support and guidance to get you through the process.”
Our Family Team, based in Christchurch, also cover Bournemouth, Poole and the New Forest. If you have any questions, you only have to ask us at Frettens. Please call 01202 499255 and Andrew or his team, will be happy to chat about your situation and you particular requirements.