How long does a divorce take in the UK?

How long does a divorce take in the UK?

Typically, the divorce process in England and Wales takes between four to six months. However, there are a number of factors which can impact the time it takes for a divorce to be finalised.

This includes:

  • A lack of cooperation by one party 
  • Complicated financial matters
  • Delays at divorce centres and family courts
  • The number of hearings your matter requires

Unfortunately, as a result of COVID-19 the typical length of time it currently takes to get a divorce has increased quite substantially. The largest divorce centre in England and Wales (Bury St Edmunds) reported in 2020-2021, that it was taking 20 weeks for a consent order to go from initial application to being granted. This alone added significant lengths of time to the divorce process. 

Uncontested divorces can be relatively straightforward. However, where you and your spouse struggle to resolve financial matters amicably, it can cause significant delays as it is advisable not to conclude a divorce before financial issues have been resolved.  

Typically, where you have held the decree nisi for greater than 12 months without applying for decree absolute, you will have to provide a written explanation to the courts for why you did not apply within the 12-month period. If the court is not in agreement with the reasoning provided, you may need to restart your divorce application process. This would ultimately delay the process further, therefore it is essential that all work conducted is within the requisite timescales. 

On average, ending a marriage and coming to a financial settlement takes approximately one year.


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