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How long does a divorce take?

If you have begun to consider a divorce, then it’s likely you will want to know how long a divorce takes.

In this article we offer some practical advice on how long a divorce takes, through to where to find more information on the divorce process.

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Thanks for all your efforts. I have you as number 1 on my list of legal advisors.

Mr L. Family Law Client

Thank you very much for all your assistance Lesley and your colleagues I can not thank you enough.

Mr S. Family Law Client

Thank you for helping, you were brilliant.

Mr I. Family Client

Thanks for all your help over the past months, you have been very professional in every way.

Mr F. Family Client

Just to say that Pavinder was excellent and really knowledgeable and informative, so could you pass on my gratitude to her.

Mr G. Family Client

Thank you for all your patience and help with resolving this whole horrible mess. All your time and work have been very much appreciated.

Mrs B. Family Client

I would like to thank you for the advice and support through the divorce.

Mr B. Family Law Client

I really cannot thank you enough for all your hard work and just being patient with me through this whole process.

Mrs Y. Family Client

I will like to thank you for your help and advice throughout this process.

Mr H. Family Client

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Mrs L. Family Law Client

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Mr S. Family Client

You have compassion and empathy and having you in court to support me was very much appreciated. Having to go to court is always daunting but having you in my corner made it that much easier.

Mrs T. Family Client

I would like to say thank you for your valuable help over the last couple of years. You were the first person who genuinely understood and for that I am incredibly grateful. I am definitely in a much happier place.

Mrs T. Family Client

Many many thanks and I don’t know what to say other than thank you very very much!

Mr W. Family Client

Very useful, professional and informative.

Family Client

I wanted to give you my sincere thanks once again for providing us with your invaluable assistance. We are beyond grateful. I wish you all the best and thank you once again for everything you have done for our family.

Ms B. Family Client

I appreciate all the help and advice you gave me over the short period. Thanks again for all your help.

Mr N. Family Client

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Family Client

I think we’ve cracked it! Family life much more relaxed and feel much happier. Thank you.

Ms J. Family Client

Many thanks for all your help and a great job done.

Ms S. Family Client

Thank you for everything you’ve done Lesley…I’m eternally grateful for everything.

Once again, thanks for everything.

Mr H. Family Client

Thank you very much for all your hard work and support with my family matter.



Mrs. O Family Client

Thank you so much for all your help with everything! You are truly amazing and I wouldn’t have got through it without your support and advice.

Ms. J Family Client

I just wanted to say thank you for supporting me and helping me get to where I needed to be!

Miss S. Family Law Client

They did a wonderful job helping my step daughter with changing her name, professional and very reasonable.

Mr R. Family Client

2014 was by far the worst year of my life to date. From the first time I met Lesley back in November 2013, she put me at ease and guided me exceedingly well through a very traumatic period. Thanks!!!

Mr C. Family Client

I wanted you to know how impressed I was with Alex, it is easy to say “she was just doing her job” however, I wanted you to know that I feel she is a credit to your firm.

Mrs B. Family Client

Chris Brown was absolutely brilliant in court. He is a lovely man who did his job perfectly and with style.

Mr H. Family Client

Jane is fantastic. I couldn’t have asked for anything more, nothing was too much trouble.

Ms C. Family Deparment Client

Regardless of how long a divorce takes, the breakdown of a relationship can be a difficult time. Naturally, you will want to know you are getting the best possible guidance. Our family law specialists will guide you through the process and offer straight answers and advice where you need it.

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How long does a divorce take in the UK?

As you might expect, divorce can take different lengths of time depending on the circumstances. A divorce can also take longer if there are any delays in the Court of Administration processing centre.

If you both agree that divorce is the route you would like to follow, either of you can petition for a divorce. This is an uncontested divorce. The legal basis for divorce is that “the marriage has broken down irretrievably” and you would simply have to sign a statement to confirm this.

There is a mandatory 20-week ‘cooling-off’ period between the date the application is issued and the date you can apply for the Conditional Order. This means that, once you factor in the mandatory six weeks between the Court making the Conditional Order and being able to apply for the Final Order, a divorce will take no less than six months from start to finish.

It is usually advisable that you do not finalise the Divorce until the other arrangements have been resolved – for example, joint assets, finances, ownership of your family home and updating your wills and trusts for dependents.  This can result in the Divorce not being finalised until quite some time after the Petition was issued.

You can find out more about your options formalising these arrangements – in our legal Q&A with Family Solicitor, Chris Brown.

The question ‘how long does a divorce take in the UK?’ does, however, need to be answered differently if your partner chooses to defend the divorce because the Divorce will follow a different procedure to an undefended divorce.  Fortunately, defended divorces are rare due to the costs involved.

What is the divorce process?

To begin with, it is important to establish if a divorce is the right route for you. There are alternative options that may be more applicable, for example, separation or annulment.

We offer a fixed fee initial meeting where you can talk to one of our highly qualified solicitors for initial advice for just £250 + VAT plus £13.50 for an ID check. Contact us to book your appointment.

Read about the divorce process and the steps that follow in our article: Stages of a divorce.

Divorce vs Separation

As establishing the legal grounds for divorce can take some time, some question whether the divorce process is right for them and if they should, instead, opt for separation.

A separation means that you are not a couple (and usually not living together). A legal separation, however, is different. A legal separation formalises financial, family and other arrangements in a separation agreement. Some couples who are splitting up opt for a legal separation as a stop-gap whilst their divorce is finalised.

However, whether you are separated or legally separated you will still be legally married to your spouse.

A divorce is defined as “the legal dissolution of a marriage”, meaning that you would no longer be married.

Divorce rate UK

The most recent divorce statistics from the Office of National Statistics show a 30% decrease in the number of divorces since a peak in 2003. In 2019, divorce rates contradicted this trend, with an 18.4% increase on 2018 figures. However, this increase likely reflects a backlog of casework from 2018 being processed in 2019 translating into a higher number of completed divorces in 2019. Read more about UK divorce rates.

Divorce laws in the UK are changing

The UK’s divorce laws are undergoing a transformation. From the 6th April 2022 the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 (the ‘DDSA’) brings substantial changes to the divorce process in England and Wales. The Act provides for the biggest reform of divorce law in fifty years and aims to reduce conflict between couples legally ending a marriage or civil partnership.

Read more about the new divorce laws

If you are considering a divorce, or would simply like to understand more about your options, you can speak with one of our highly qualified solicitors. Contact us to book your appointment.

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