Statistics released by the Family Court in the first half of last year show that compared to the same quarter in 2018 divorces were taking 8 weeks longer. On average it now takes 33 weeks to get from filing your divorce petition with the Court to decree nisi, and 59 weeks to obtain a decree absolute. Does this matter?
The decision to divorce is a huge one and cannot be rushed into. However, when you have made a decision to petition the Court for a Judge divorce there are a couple of things you can do to speed up the process:
- Firstly, if you have never petitioned for a divorce before, the application can be a minefield. A record number of applications are being rejected and often this can be quite late in the process. A recent client petition based on his wife’s unreasonable behaviour was rejected six months later because the Particulars he gave were insufficient. He must now start the process again or file a harsher, more detailed petition. Either way he will have to pay another hefty Court fee. As a lawyer you only make this mistake once and you learn there is a way of presenting behaviour that is not too hurtful or confrontational but satisfies the Court that the petition for divorce should be granted. The cost of the Court fee is £550. The cost of instructing a solicitor to file the petition for you is not much more. It is worthwhile consulting a solicitor before you petition for divorce. It can save money and time in the long run.
- While waiting 33 weeks for a decree nisi you can use the time to agree a financial settlement. An order can then be lodged with the Court at decree nisi stage. It is advisable to delay applying for decree absolute until you have a concluded financial order. This is because divorce affects inheritance and your spouse’s pension. It can take a surprisingly long time to agree a financial settlement and get it drawn up into a consent order so the sooner you start this process the sooner you can apply for decree absolute.
A divorce is a life changing decision and it is really important you go into it knowing what the future will look like. A solicitor can give you information about the process, timescales and what a fair financial settlement would be. I recommend that you consult a solicitor about your options early on. Treat it as a fact-finding mission: it does not commit you to anything. We offer a one hour fixed fee meeting for this purpose. To find out more please contact me, Beth Woodward, on 01908 304560 or email firstname.lastname@example.org