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How long does it take to file for divorce?

To end your marriage in England and Wales you must have been married for at least 12 months before filing for divorce and entering into divorce proceedings.

A divorce where both parties are in agreement to the divorce and the reasons why, would typically take between four to six months before the coronavirus pandemic, now the times vary slightly.

Sometimes, it might take you longer if you are unable to sort out any issues relating to money, property or children.

Sorting out your money and property is dealt with in a separate procedure to your divorce, however, it is recommended to try and arrange them at the same time as your divorce to ensure a ‘clean break’ following the divorce.

What is a clean break?

A clean break order is a court order which allows you to break all financial ties with your spouse. Once a clean break order has been made, all financial claims in the future are dismissed and neither spouse can make a claim for money or assets. This enables both parties to the divorce to move forward and be financially independent of one another.

Even if you do not have any assets at the time of your divorce, it is still vital to get a clean break. Your spouse’s ability to make a financial claim will continue to exist even after you have a divorce. In certain circumstances, a clean break may not be appropriate especially if there are children involved.

If a clean break is appropriate, you must make an application to the court and have the order sealed. Without this order, there is always a possibility that you could be faced with a financial claim in the future that your ex-spouse is legally entitled to.

What are the grounds for a divorce

When looking to start divorce proceedings, you must first be sure that you have adequate reasons for divorce. These reasons include:

  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Separation of two years (divorce should be sought with the consent of the other party)
  • Separation of five years (no consent of the other party is required)
  • Unreasonable behaviour

If any of these grounds apply, a petition for divorce can be issued.

If you have questions about your options, we are able to offer you a free initial 30-minute consultation and we fix our rate per 30 minutes at £50 thereafter. You can free-call us on 0300 303 3629 to arrange this initial consultation, or alternatively you can complete our enquiry form.