Divorce has a long and complicated history. In the past, it was impossible for the ordinary person to divorce, and it was not until the 1800s that this began to change, and even then, only 324 divorces were enacted, and of those, only 4 were brought forward by women. The hoops to get a divorce in the past were severe, and again the requirements for a woman to bring forward a divorce were higher than their male counterparts. Even then, it was only last century that no-fault divorce started, and even more recently that divorce has stopped being as stigmatized as it was in the past.
Even today, however, there are many complications when it comes to divorcing your spouse, especially if it is on the grounds of “no-fault”. The division of assets, the many different forms, requirements and steps, and of course your own personal feelings of the matter all make divorce a far more complicated process than many realize.
A cooperative, amicable divorce can completely set the stage for your single life, and especially if you will be moving forward as co-parents. Doing it right is of utmost importance, so going in with the right understanding of how long it will take, and the steps involved, is a must.
When to Hire a Solicitor
The best way to keep a divorce amicable is to avoid negotiating your assets on your own. Even when you think you are both on the same page, nothing can tear that thought apart faster than when talking about money. Add in children, and divorces can get uglier before you know it. That is why when you want to get a divorce, the best way to understand the process and to keep it civil is to hire a solicitor that specializes ideally in both family, and child law, like LanarkshireSolicitors.
Solicitors can help you understand and navigate the law, even though some would argue that they are not strictly necessary. It is far better to break cleanly, and most importantly, with a full understanding of what your divorce means for your future and your personal finances than it is to muddle through on your own.
How Long Does a Divorce Take?
There are multiple steps involved when it comes to filing and processing a divorce. The average amount of time you can expect between issuing the divorce petition until its final stage is between at minimum four to five months in some countries, such as the United Kingdom. In other places in the world, like the USA, the minimum amount of time these proceedings can take is around 11 months.
This is in best case scenarios, however. In the UK it can take 7 months or longer, in the US and in Scotland it can take longer. If the divorce went to court, it would take an average of 18 months to resolve.
Understanding the Cooling Off or Separation Period
There are multiple rules involved when it comes to the timeline of when you can start divorce proceedings. In the UK, for example, you can only get a divorce after you have been married for one year at least. In amicable divorces, you must also show that you have been separated for two years. If only one partner in a separated marriage wants to divorce, then you must wait five years.
There are instances where you do not need to wait, however. Adultery or unreasonable behavior both allow you to divorce sooner. There is a bill that is set to introduce the concept of no-fault divorces without the necessity of the two-year separation period in the UK, but it has not yet come into force yet, and expected to start in April 2022.
In the USA the rules will differ from state to state, known as “cooling off periods”. California, for example, has a six-month cooling off period, whereas Idaho’s cooling off period is 20 days for childless couple, and 90 days for couples with children.
The Steps of Divorce
There are several steps of divorce, and again these will differ depending on the country, and even state you live in.
In the UK, for example, the divorce process looks like this:
- One party issues a D8 petition form to the government
- The courts then send the petition to the respondent
- The respondent then has to send back an acknowledgement of service
- The petitioner will then have to file for what is called a decree nisi, which includes statement in support of the divorce (the reason for early divorce, or proof of separation) as well as asking for permission to divorce.
- The court will then have to pronounce the decree nisi, and only then will you have the confirmation from the court.
- Begin file for the financial consent order, where you split up assets and negotiate your financial contributions to each other.
- Wait a minimum of six weeks and one day (or longer) after confirmation from the court to file the decree absolute.
- Once the decree absolute is granted, you are divorced.
While the actual steps regarding paperwork are fairly straightforward, it is the division of assets that often demand solicitor supervision. Your financial contributions to one another do not end with the divorce, especially if you have children. Adding family law into the mix will also complicate matters.
The steps to take for a divorce are fairly similar in every country, including the USA, though the terminology is markedly different. You will also file a divorce petition, get temporary orders, serve your spouse and wait for a response, and then negotiate a settlement. If a settlement cannot be negotiated the parties can take it to court, and afterwards the judgement will be finalized and the parties will be divorced.
Doing this entirely on your own is the worst possible situation as a source: leaves open the possibility of receiving an unfair settlement post-divorce, and also is often very distressing for both parties involved – and even more so if they have children.
A solicitor can ease the process, keep you up to date, and properly file all necessary documentation on the right schedule to expediate and simplify the divorce process.