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The Myth of the Quickie Divorce

PUBLISHED: 11:23 01 March 2018 | UPDATED: 10:40 02 March 2018

The divorce process is anything but quick, but it is fairly straight-forward

The divorce process is anything but quick, but it is fairly straight-forward


There is no such thing as a ‘Quickie Divorce’, writes Kirpal Bidmead.

Kirpal Bidmead at Flint BishopKirpal Bidmead at Flint Bishop

We are constantly told by the media that celebrities such as Petra Ecclestone and James Stunt have had “a quickie divorce”. It was reported that singer, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini was granted a divorce in only 14 seconds. This is simply untrue.

You can only get divorced if you have been married for more than 12 months. You then need to be able to prove that your marriage has irretrievably broken down by giving a reason, referred to as a “fact” from the following options:

Adultery – your spouse has committed adultery but you cannot use this reason if your spouse has committed adultery with someone of the same sex. This is because under English and Welsh law, adultery is defined as voluntary sexual intercourse between a man and woman.

Unreasonable Behaviour – Your spouse’s behaviour is such that you simply cannot reasonably be expected to live with them

Desertion – Your spouse left you at least two years ago and you have not heard from them since

Living apart for two years – you have been separated from your spouse for at least two years and they agree to a divorce

Living apart for five years – you and your spouse have been separated for five years or more. You can use this reason to get divorced whether or not your spouse agrees to the divorce.


It is estimated that a divorce takes between 4 to 6 months if you both agree to it. A quick divorce needs you both to be cooperative.

This is our detailed timeline:

A timeline of a typical divorceA timeline of a typical divorce


There are three main stages of a divorce. These are:

1. Filing a divorce petition – this is the name of the legal document that you will send to Court. This document will formally ask the Court to dissolve your marriage. In this document, you will need to state the reasons why you want to divorce your partner. You will need to use one of the five ‘facts’ for divorce as already mentioned.

2. Decree Nisi – The Court will send your divorce petition to your spouse/civil partner. They will then complete a document called an Acknowledgment of Service and return it to the Court. Assuming they do not defend the divorce, you can then apply to the Court for the Decree Nisi which is the provisional stage of the divorce.

3. Decree Absolute – This dissolves your marriage and leaves you both free to remarry.

Some facts and figures on UK divorcesSome facts and figures on UK divorces

The process is anything but quick, but it is fairly straight-forward. The more complicated elements of a divorce are dealing with the arrangements for any children of the family and the finances.

If you would like a copy of our free ‘Divorce – what you need to know’ guide or if you would like help from a Family solicitor regarding any divorce queries, please contact Kirpal Bidmead on 01332 226 174 or email her at

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