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Is there such a thing as a ‘quickie divorce’?

Following the recent announcement that Ant McPartlin (half of TV presenting duo Ant & Dec) and his wife of 11 years are to divorce, the concept of a ‘quickie divorce’ is once again featuring in the headlines.

The term ‘quickie divorce’ is often used by the media in relation to celebrity divorces, but are they a reality? Anne McAllister a family law solicitor in our Wimbledon office, takes a look beyond the headlines

The reporting of so-called ‘quickie divorces’ results in people being lead to believe that their divorce can also be granted in seconds A few recent examples are below;:

  • In December 2017, Louise and Jamie Redknapp were reportedly granted their divorce in just 20 seconds.
  • In August 2017, Ryan Giggs reportedly received his divorce in 43 seconds, and
  • In October 2016, Cheryl Cole reportedly obtained “UK’s speediest divorce” in a matter of just 14 seconds!

In England and Wales, the same process for divorce applies to everyone regardless of celebrity status or financial position – there is no special accelerated procedure.

Even if both parties can work together on an amicable basis, the process is likely to take a four to six months from the lodging of the divorce petition to the pronouncement of the decree absolute which is the final order in the divorce.

When the media report that celebrity marriages are ended in a matter of seconds, what they will actually be referring to is the judge reading aloud the pronouncements of the decree nisi, which is an interim order.  This can take just a few seconds and widespread misunderstanding of the process has led to the media interpreting this as the final order which is where the term ‘quickie divorce’ is likely to have originated from.

In fact, once decree nisi has been pronounced, parties must then wait at least six weeks and one day until applying for the final decree, the decree absolute. Parties are only legally divorced once a decree absolute has been pronounced, although there are exceptional circumstances for obtaining the final decree sooner – being a celebrity is not one of them!

It is important to note that if there are financial issues arising from separation then in many cases these need to be dealt with before the divorce can be finalised so the time frame for finalising the divorce can be much longer where there are associated issues that also need to be resolved.

At Morrisons we are committed to helping you achieve the best outcome in a timely way.

If you have any queries about matrimonial matters, please contact our family law team in our Wimbledon office.


Although correct at the time of publication, the contents of this newsletter/blog are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute, legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Please contact us for the latest legal position.

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