Every time a well-known celebrity is in the news for getting a miraculously fast divorce, the amount of enquiries we receive about ‘quickie divorces’ shoots up. And every time that happens, we have to patiently explain that there’s no such thing – no matter what the headlines say – and on occasions we have to give someone the disappointing advice that they are unlikely to be able to remarry within the next two to three months.
The latest star to join the annals of ‘quickie’ legend is actress Bonnie Langford, who recently separated amicably from her husband of 20 years and was – according to the news – awarded an astonishingly quick ‘90-second divorce’. But while it might have taken 90 seconds for the usher to say the words required to officially grant the Decree Nisi, the divorce process itself would likely have taken around a year, and any financial settlement/children’s arrangements might still not be finalised.
There are two and sometimes three parts to a divorce. The first is the divorce petition itself, and the process alone currently takes upwards of 12 months as a result of the re-organisation of the court system. The other two parts are the financial settlement and, if necessary, arrangements for any children. A Decree Absolute is unlikely to be applied for and granted until after a financial settlement is agreed.
This kind of reporting is, of course, intended to draw in readers with a bit of celeb gossip, but the misleading suggestion that the rich and famous are somehow able to procure super-fast divorces is not only irresponsible but entirely untrue. There is no such thing as a quickie divorce, despite what many ’cheap’ divorce sites claim. And no matter how wealthy you are, there’s no real way to speed up the process besides working collaboratively with your ex and having all your paperwork in order as early as possible.
The main danger with the whole ‘quickie’ myth is that it encourages couples to cut corners in an attempt to streamline the process, often resulting in errors, miscalculations, and downright unfair and unworkable financial arrangements which can cause serious issues (and possibly further litigation and costs) down the line. Attempting to do it all yourself can have disastrous consequences and you should always consult an experienced family law solicitor for guidance.
if your aim is to get divorced as quickly and simply as possible, your best is to consider mediation in the first instance. If that is not for you then your family solicitor can advise you on other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options available including solicitor to solicitor negotiations, round table meetings, and arbitration if you really cannot agree. Mediation, is generally the lowest cost and probably the fastest option available, and allows you far more control over the terms of your separation, financial settlement, and children’s arrangements.
Divorce is never easy, but making the decision to use a collaborative approach gives you the best start in tackling difficult decisions – especially if there are children involved. Seeking an out-of-court resolution is the closest you’ll get to a ‘quickie’ divorce, and the more cooperatively you are able to work with your ex, the faster it will be.
For more information on the methods of separation available, and advice on which one might be most useful for your situation, get in touch with our friendly, down-to-earth solicitors at Frances Lindsay & Co. We offer an initial 45-minute consultation at no charge to all our new family law clients to discuss your needs and help you decide on the best way forward. Contact us at www.franceslindsay.co.uk or call 01628 634667 to book your appointment and let us take the weight off your shoulders.