How long does it take to get divorced in the UK? There are a lot of common misconceptions when it comes to divorce in the UK and how long it takes.
The reality is, of course, that it depends on the individual circumstances such as:
- How complex the assets owned by both partners are;
- Whether there are children involved and child arrangements required; and
- Whether you can agree on key aspects with your former partner.
Now, issues around property and child arrangements are two of the most common reasons for delays in divorce proceedings, which can actually take as little as 4-6 months to complete.
However, the average divorce in the UK takes about 12 months to be finalised.
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How Long Does It Take To Get A Divorce UK
A year might seem like a long time but when you factor in all of the elements that need to be agreed upon, it’s not an unreasonable amount of time.
The starting point for any divorce is for everything to be split equally – 50/50.
That makes sense as the default position but when other elements are considered, it might not be deemed fair to split all assets down the middle.
For example, you may have a greater share of certain matrimonial assets than your former spouse, whether that’s:
- Savings and finances
Crucially, property that’s considered a matrimonial asset must have been acquired or built up during the marriage and any property that was gifted or inherited isn’t included.
The rule is that if the asset can be attributed to having achieved financial gain because of the endeavour of both people in the marriage, then it’s classed as a matrimonial asset.
As in, thanks to the effort of both partners whether that’s via investment, work, taking care of children or the joint decision to purchase, invest, improve or design a property in a certain way, the property is worth the figure that it’s now worth, then that’s considered an asset that can be divided.
Of course, everyone has their own individual assets such as pensions, investments, and savings, but these all need to be considered in context.
For example, if one partner agreed to take additional time off while a child was younger and that meant that they earned less during this period and subsequently their assets (pensions, savings etc.) didn’t increase as much as the other partner.
Then that might be a factor in deciding how the assets are split to make it as fair as possible.
Dividing Assets Often Leads To A Divorce Taking Longer
Splitting the assets in a divorce can often lead to a delay in the divorce being completed, because both parties usually feel strongly about these issues.
Factors taken into account include:
- The income, earning capacity, property, and other financial resources which both parties have and are likely to have in the foreseeable future
- The financial responsibilities and requirements of both parties, including any that they are likely to face in the foreseeable future
- The standard of living enjoyed by the entire family before the breakdown of the relationship
- The age of both parties in the marriage and how long they have been married for
- The contributions that both people have made or are likely to make towards the welfare of the family; this includes financial AND looking after the home, caring for the family, etc.
- The conduct of both partners
How Much Does Divorce Cost In The UK?
The cost of a divorce in the UK can vary significantly depending on your circumstances. You should also consider child maintenance and the cost of finding a new home to live in as part of the process as well, given that they are new costs.
The average divorce in the UK costs around £14,500 all told, between legal and lifestyle costs.
If you fail to reach an agreement with your former spouse through mediation or any other means will result in you having to apply to the court for adjudication.
The court will charge you £255, and your solicitor’s fees will need to be accounted for.
These vary considerably based on the circumstances of the divorce, the value of the divorce assets and the time it takes to reach a divorce settlement, so it could range for the low thousands of pounds to many thousands of pounds in some of the huge celebrity divorce cases you see.
If you decide to contest the divorce after this, then you’ll have a fully contested final hearing in court where the judge will hear arguments from both parties before making a final decision…
But this cost up to £30,000 and upwards.
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