How can I get divorced quickly?

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While most couples that get married typically envision themselves spending the rest of their lives together, this simply isn’t the case for many couples. Unfortunately, (according to the latest calculated divorce statistics) the reality is that 42 per cent of marriages in England and Wales will end in divorce.

A long, tense and often stressful process, you might be wondering whether there’s any way a divorce can be sped up. Luckily, we’ve done the research for you.

If you want a quick divorce or have been asked for a speedy divorce by your spouse, then it’s time to consider all your options.

At Freeman Jones Legal, we have years of invaluable experience and a proven track record of success in countless divorce cases, so you can rely on our team to guide you through this process using only the latest and most accurate legal information.

Below, we explore whether immediate divorces are a feasible option for UK couples, while also taking a look at the best ways to obtain a quick divorce in the UK and finding out whether it’s worth hiring a divorce solicitor to support your speedy separation.

Regardless of whether you’re keen to start a new chapter or simply want to avoid a drawn-out divorce dispute, we can help.

Can I divorce immediately?

Before we explore the fastest ways to get divorced in the UK, it’s well worth explaining the difference between an annulment and a standard divorce. While an annulment (also referred to as nullity) is one way of ending a marriage within a year of being married, it can only be used in certain circumstances.

To annual a marriage, you must be able to prove that it was either never legally valid (void) or provide a ‘voidable’ reason for a legal marriage. Reasons to annul a marriage on the grounds that it was void include being closely related to your spouse, (you and/or your spouse) being aged under 16, and one of you were already married or in a civil partnership at the time of the marriage.

‘Voidable’ reasons to annual a legal marriage, on the other hand, include unconsummated marriages, marriages where force or coercion was used and there was no consent, and marriages where your partner had an STD (sexually transmitted disease) at the time of marriage. Additional reasons include your spouse being pregnant by someone else when you got married or your spouse being in the process of transitioning to a different gender at the time of marriage.

While eligible applicants can apply for an annulment immediately after getting married, it often takes between six to eight months to process this application – even if both parties agree and the annulment is uncontested. Divorce proceedings, on the other hand, are designed to support the separation of a married couple who can provide no reason as to why their marriage wasn’t legally valid.

According to official Government divorce guidelines, in order to apply for a divorce in the UK, you must first have been married for over a year. The relationship must also be classed as ‘permanently broken down’ and it must be legally recognised in the UK. While you can separate immediately after getting married, you must wait for at least a year before being eligible for divorce in the UK.

It’s worth noting, however, that a legal separation does not end the marriage. It only allows you to live separately. If you want to marry someone else or completely end your marriage, you will need to undertake divorce proceedings. If you’re eager to leave your spouse, seeking advice from expert divorce lawyers can help you to decide which legal route is right for you.

What’s the quickest way to divorce in the UK?

In the UK, the fastest (and often the easiest) way to obtain a divorce (not a separation) is to undertake an uncontested divorce. Put simply, this means the married couple both agree that they want a divorce, and they agree to the divorce reasons. An uncontested divorce is relatively straightforward and therefore faster to process because there are fewer disputes between the two parties. This allows any major issues to be dealt with between the spouses and for assets to be divided amicably without the time, hassle and cost involved with going to court.

Which divorce takes the longest?

A contested divorce, on the other hand, involves disagreement between the spouses where one party chooses to dispute and the other defends. Often, one spouse wants to get a divorce while the other wants to remain married. For example, one spouse might believe that the marriage has not ‘irretrievably broken down’, while the other is adamant that the marriage is over indefinitely.

Contested divorces are often a much longer process as the divorcing couple will typically be required to attend two court hearings. Not only does a contested divorce take longer, but it’s also a more complicated procedure because both parties need to provide evidence to support their argument where a judge will decide whether they should be entitled to a divorce.

It you’re considering contesting a divorce, it’s worth mentioning that it’s uncommon for divorce to be contested and in the event that it is, it’s often incredibly difficult to dispute. Hiring an experienced divorce lawyer is therefore essential if it seems likely that your partner won’t agree to a divorce or you want to dispute the divorce yourself.

How long does a divorce take in 2022?

In 2022, a UK divorce is estimated to take 26 weeks from the date of the divorce petition being issued to the date of the final divorce order. Part and parcel of the divorce process, you’ll receive separate decrees at different stages. For example, the Decree Nisi (also known as the conditional order) refers to the provisional divorce decree awarded by the court that confirms the divorcing couple meet the legal requirements to obtain a divorce. This decree is given at about 20 weeks into the process.

A Decree Absolute (also referred to as a final order) can only be applied for at least six weeks and one day after the Decree Nisi has been received. It is only in very exceptional cases that a Decree Absolute will be granted earlier than this. Upon being granted this final order, you will be legally divorced. In total, it therefore takes roughly 26 weeks for a marriage to be officially ended.

Put simply, the Decree Nisi declares that you are entitled to get divorce, while the Decree Absolute finalises it in the eyes of the law. It’s also worth noting that it’s rare for a Decree Nisi to be granted and for a Decree Absolute to not follow. It’s for this reason that the receipt of a Decree Nisi is widely viewed as the first important step in obtaining a divorce in the UK.

Can I get divorced without going to court?

You can get divorced without going to court if the divorce is amicable and you both agree on the reasoning for it, for example if the divorce is uncontested.

However, it’s worth bearing in mind that there may be other aspects of your separation that require you to go court.

For example, you may need to settle other legal matters regarding child custody, property or financial affairs by going to court. Ultimately, courts are only required if there is disagreement between the two parties and they need to step in to mediate.

In the case of many uncontested divorces, a good divorce solicitor will be able to act as mediator and therefore negate the need for the UK court to get involved. We therefore recommend enlisting the help of an experienced divorce solicitor (regardless of whether your divorce is contested or uncontested) to help bring any legal divorce matters to a conclusion as fast as possible.

Divorcing couples that are going through a contested divorce, on the other hand, will need to go to court. Often, they’ll be required to attend two court hearings in order to present their evidence to the judge and for the court to come to a decision regarding whether they should be entitled to seek a divorce or not. A divorce lawyer is just as necessary for contested divorces as they are for uncontested divorces – they just provide support in different ways.

By way of illustrating, when it comes to supporting you through a contested divorce, a good divorce solicitor will help you to collect evidence and present your case to the presiding judge. However, if they’re required to provide legal support and advice for an uncontested divorce, they are more likely to play a mediating role, discussing and dividing assets, and creating mutually agreeable arrangements.

Do I need a solicitor to get a quick divorce?

While you can get divorced without a solicitor, those searching for a quick divorce should certainly seek professional legal advice and guidance – especially if the divorce isn’t amicable or is contested. This is because divorce lawyers aim to deescalate emotional situations using both logical legal guidance and clear communication, while also provide crucial support when it comes to building an argument against the spouse’s defence.

Instead of negotiating a divorce settlement based on anger, sadness or frustration in the manner of a spurned spouse, divorce solicitors aim to keep their clients’ best interests at heart. Indeed, divorce solicitors can help you to determine which assets are important – they may even help you to uncover additional assets that you were unaware of during the marriage.

A good divorce solicitor will create a practical approach to listing and dividing these assets in a way that benefits all parties and aims to achieve the best outcome. It’s therefore well worth hiring a professional divorce lawyer if you want to increase your chances of achieving a good settlement within your desired timeframe.

Not to mention, divorce solicitors can also save you a substantial amount of time unpicking legal jargon as you make your way through mountains of divorce forms and paperwork. Expert divorce lawyers will be able to use their host of experience and legal knowledge to ensure the proposed settlement is fair, accurate and meets all your requirements.

Freeman Jones Legal divorce solicitors

Searching for your own quick divorce solution and eager to explore all your legal options?

Thanks to our experienced divorce solicitors and our dedication to providing unparalleled customer support, we’re one of the leading law firms in the Chester area.

Offering tailored divorce advice and guidance to clients across Chester, we can help you to obtain a quick divorce in the UK.

If you’d like to find out more about how we work, you can find Freeman Jones Legal locations across the length and breadth of the UK.

We have offices located in Wrexham, Liverpool, Warrington and even North Wales, so please feel free to pay our team a visit by checking out your closest branch. By providing first-rate legal advice for an affordable price, we’ve impressed countless clients, but don’t just take our word for it – why not explore our reviews while you’re here?

At the forefront of our operations is a dedication to providing unparalleled customer service. Part and parcel of this is ensuring we provide tailored legal guidance to your specific circumstances. As well as divorce settlements, our highly-experienced and qualified team of solicitors can also provide legal guidance on inheritance disputes, domestic violence and commercial law.

To discuss your legal requirements with one of our solicitors today, don’t hesitate to call us on 01244 506 444.

Alternatively, you can also contact us via email by sending your enquiry to

From here, we can carry out one of our free 30-minute consultations to discuss your litigation requirements in more detail and explore your legal options.

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Author Colin Freeman View Profile
Colin qualified as a solicitor in 1998. He specialises predominantly in family law, litigation / dispute resolution, wills, probate and settlement agreements and has notable cases reported in the Court of Appeal and High Court.
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