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No time for "a quickie"


It is an often used expression by the media, particularly when reporting on the divorces of celebrities, that the pair have obtained “a quickie divorce”.    

This is a particularly misleading term as it appears to be that those of a certain status are able to obtain a divorce somehow quicker than others.

It seems to be that the term is used when the decree nisi of divorce is granted in an undefended case.  However, many and indeed most divorces proceed in this way.

Once a divorce petition is issued (by “the Petitioner”) and served upon the other spouse (“the Respondent”), that person has 14 days within which to respond.  If that response is that the Respondent accepts the divorce should proceed on the fact that is alleged, the Petitioner can then apply for the decree nisi.  This is the first stage in the dissolution of the marriage and will be the first opportunity for the papers to be in front of the judge.   There is, technically, a hearing for the granting of decree nisi although in reality it is unusual for clients to attend this hearing unless there are issues of costs to be decided.

The court will list the pronouncement of decree nisi in many cases all at the same time and the clerk of the court reads out the names of the cases and the Judge will, in one fell swoop, grant nisi in all of them.    This is therefore a fairly quick procedure and probably the start of the myth of “the quickie divorce”.  However, that is not the end of the procedure and spouses remain married until the decree absolute of divorce is granted.  This cannot even be applied for until at least six weeks later.    There are exceptional circumstances when the application for the decree absolute can be brought forward although these are very few and far between and the fact that the spouses may have some celebrity “cache” is not one of them.

The usual time for a divorce to be completed from the issue of the petition until the grant of the decree absolute is about 4 – 6 months, provided applications are dealt with promptly and the court are not delayed in their workload of turning things around.  Hardly quick.  However, during that time, focus can be turned to issues around finances and children, if appropriate.  Indeed, it is sometimes the case that the application decree absolute is delayed until the picture as to how finances are to be resolved is clearer.

If you would like any more information on this or any other related issue please contact me on 0113 336 3349.

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