Divorce Timescales – Four Stage Process

Divorce Timescales

Our clients often ask how long a divorce takes and how they can get a quick divorce.

The time that it takes to get a divorce is dependent on many different factors, which vary from case to case.


Uncontested Divorce

Four stage process for divorce

Apart from dealing with any separate financial and/or children issues,  outside this process, your divorce will proceed in four specific stages. It should take about 12 to 16 weeks to complete the process.  This depends upon the efficiency of the court handling the case and how quickly you respond to our emails. We will draft all necessary court documents on your behalf.

Divorce Timescale stage 1:  up to 4 weeks

We will send the divorce petition to the court with all supporting documentation.  Along with the relevant court, the fee to start the process by recorded delivery. The court will then issue your divorce petition and will post a copy to you and a copy to your spouse along with various documents, including a form, called an Acknowledgement of Service.

Divorce Timescale stage 2:  up to 2 weeks

Your spouse (the Respondent) needs to complete, sign and return the Acknowledgement of Service form to the court.  This is to confirm that he/she has received the divorce petition and does not intend to defend it. If we are working with both of you, we will help with any questions they may have about this form. The court will send you a copy of this signed form. If your spouse fails to lodge an Acknowledgement we can usually arrange for the process server.  This means to serve the papers personally on him or her, on payment of an additional fee.

Divorce Timescale stage 3:  up to 6 weeks

Assuming the Acknowledgement of Service form has been received we will need to lodge an application for decree nisi, together with a statement in support. On approval of the paperwork, the court will fix a hearing date for declaration of the decree nisi of divorce. Neither of you will need to attend this hearing as the court will post the decree nisi of divorce to us afterward.

Divorce Timescale Stage 4 – after 6 weeks

We can apply for the decree absolute after a minimum of six weeks and one day from date of the decree nisi. Once the pronouncement of the decree absolute of divorce,  your marriage will be dissolved.

However we do not recommend stage 4 until any financial settlement (if appropriate) has the approval of the courts.  In short we want to ensure that you are both protected with your financial interests  before the application of the decree absolute.

Divocrce timescales - Four Stage Process

Quick Divorce

A quick divorce can happen when both parties agree the marriage has broken down irretrievably.   The simplest form of divorce is where there are no assets and no children involved.

Providing each party returns the necessary forms on time.  Our experts can complete the process within 16 weeks from filing for divorce to decree absolute.

Divorce with finances and/or children or other issues

A divorce is likely to take longer for couples where couples require

  • a financial settlement, and/or
  •  any arrangements made for their children.

A divorce may also take longer, for example, if it is being contested or where one party does not know where the other now lives.

Our assisted divorce service can help to speed up the process. We can provide an assisted divorce service to couples who have assets and/or children, therefore helping you look objectively at the situation and agree on a settlement that is right for you both.

Our trained negotiators are always able to assist in situations especially where one party does not know where the other now lives,  and needs to have papers served personally to enable the divorce to progress.

The Simple Divorce Process Guide

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Simple Divorce Process Guide

Make an enquiry with our Divorce Law Experts on

0800 177 7702 or contact us online