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Quickie divorce - fact or fiction?

Updated: Oct 29, 2020

Recent high-profile celebrity separations have drawn a huge amount of attention to so-called “quickie divorces” which, according to the media, allow a couple to end their marriage just weeks after splitting up.

But ask anyone with any personal experience of the process and they are likely to tell you their own divorce took much longer – up to around six months.

So do wealthy, well-connected celebrities like Nigella Lawson, John Torode and Katie Price have access to some sort of secret, fast-track solution denied to ‘normal’ people? Or are all divorcing couples subject to the same timeline and criteria, regardless of fame or fortune?

Firstly, it’s important to highlight a couple of very common mistakes made by journalists reporting on these high-profile celebrity cases. Much emphasis is placed on the fact that Court hearings when a decree nisi is issued last just a minute or so. This is totally normal – whoever you are and however much money you have in your bank account. A Judge simply reads out names of couples who are seeking divorce. It’s as simple as that and it’s unusual for either party to attend this hearing.

Secondly, the couple in question are not actually divorced at this stage. A decree absolute, which formally ends the marriage, cannot be issued until six weeks and a day after the decree nisi.

Although the divorce of Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi was undoubtedly quicker than most, much of this can be attributed to the fact neither party made any financial claims against the other.

The legal process of getting a divorce is fairly straightforward – what can, and often does, slow it down is working through practical considerations such as where each party will live, how assets will be divided, and what arrangements are made regarding any children.

If you are seeking advice on divorce and separation, our specialist family lawyer can help guide you through what is often a stressful and challenging time, ensuring you get the best possible outcome and in a reasonable amount of time.


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