The new divorce timeframe and using the time wisely

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20 July 2022

The new divorce timeframe and using the time wisely


Earlier this year the law was changed to remove the ability of either partner to challenge a divorce, except in very specific limited circumstances. The requirement to assign blame or fault was also removed, with the intention that divorce should become a more straightforward and altogether less acrimonious process.


But did you know that the new law introduces a minimum period of 20 weeks between the start of proceedings and application for conditional order, which was previously called a decree Nisi? In practice, that means a divorce is likely to take at least 6-7 months. 


It’s important that anyone seeking a divorce understands this at the outset, and uses this time to put arrangements in place with regards to children, finances and property, as appropriate.


Our expert divorce solicitors will be able to talk you through the steps to take in your particular circumstances, but here are a few things you might need to address:


  • Decide with your partner whether you wish to submit a Joint Application or Sole Application. The particular circumstances of your divorce may naturally lead you down one path over the other.
  • If the relationship allows for it and you’re able to talk it through, discuss how any assets will be divided. These may include cash, houses, cars, pensions or any number of other assets, which will vary from case to case. It is important not to commit to an agreement until you have taken advice from your solicitor.
  • Consider where any children will live and try to agree how parenting duties will be split. We understand however that in many cases it’s simply not possible to hold constructive discussions around childcare when preparing for divorce, and we can help to negotiate should that be necessary. It’s usually advisable to write down any agreement to ensure both parties are fully aware of what’s been agreed. Sometimes an order is needed and we can help with that too.
  • Wherever possible it’s best for all involved if these matters don’t have to be taken to court, but we can support and advise should that become necessary.
  • It’s also important for you to consider creating or updating your Will at this stage. In the event that you or your spouse die whilst you are married then if you do not have a Will your spouse will inherit some, and possibly all, of your estate. It’s important therefore to make a will upon separation, which reflects your up to date wishes. It may also be worth revisiting any existing will straight away to ensure your current wishes are put in place should the worst happen. We can also help with property issues so they can form part of your will.

The timeframe of 6-7 months given above is a minimum, and very much relies upon both parties being able to reach agreement on the major matters of childcare and finances. If mediation is required to work through disputes, and/or certain matters need to be decided in court, the process could take significantly longer.


Obtaining specialist legal advice at an early stage with regards to your divorce will ensure that matters are dealt with properly and at the right time in the procedure, and may well save you money in the long run. If you’d like to speak to one of our expert divorce solicitors, get in touch today on 01924 387 171


Delia Crofts-Turnbull