Is there really such thing as a 'quickie divorce'?

This week it was reported that presenter Ant McPartlin, and his wife Lisa were granted a 30 second divorce in London. Solicitor Linzi Perriman looks…

This week it was reported that presenter Ant McPartlin, worth a reported £62 million and his wife, Lisa Armstrong, were granted a 30 second divorce in London following their separation in January. Solicitor Linzi Perriman looks at the media myth of ‘quickie divorces’...

Over the years the media has reported several celebrities receiving ‘quickie divorces’ such as Cheryl Cole, Sir Paul McCartney, Tom Cruise, Gary Linekar and Rowan Atkinson to name but a few.

So how do you get one?

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a ‘quickie divorce’ – it is simply media ‘spin’. Whilst some divorces are quicker than others, the process is broadly the same and there are no shortcuts for anyone, despite how famous you might be!

So what are the media talking about?

The McPartlin divorce, reported to have taken Judge Alun Jenkins 60 seconds, is actually the length of time it took him to pronounce Decree Nisi in open court where the journalists were waiting in the wings to hear the names read out.

There is no need for either person to attend the Decree Nisi pronouncement hearing unless they are not agreed on the costs of the divorce and wish to make representations to the judge.

Decree Nisi is not the final decree and the McPartlin/Armstrong marriage will not be dissolved until Decree Absolute is granted. Armstrong will be able to apply for Decree Absolute six weeks and one day following Decree Nisi, but she will likely be advised to delay making her application until a financial settlement has been reached.

How long will the process actually take?

Whilst no two divorces are identical, some can be quicker than others. The quickest divorce I have ever dealt with lasted five months, but this was partly because those involved were agreed on almost everything. It would have been even quicker than this but for delays with the court system.

Generally speaking, divorce takes in the region of 6-12 months but that is because parties are usually advised not to divorce until financial matters have been resolved, embodied into a consent order and submitted to court for approval by a judge. The most common delays are encountered with exchanging full and frank financial disclosure, dealing with day-to-day practical issues and protracted negotiations.

At Weightmans we appreciate that clients can be cost conscious and many want an amicable, swift and cost-effective divorce, so we advise clients at the outset what steps they can take themselves to try and reduce their costs and delay going forwards.

Linzi Perriman is a Solicitor in the family team at Weightmans. Linzi.perriman@weightmans.com

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