How Long Does the Average UK Divorce Take?

Posted on: 3 mins read
Lorraine Harvey

Partner, Family Law

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Once you’ve made the difficult decision to divorce your partner, you want to get the process over and done with as quickly as possible so you can both move on with your life.

But high-profile divorces such as the Arnold Schwarzenegger vs Maria Shriver case which took over 10 years to complete, or the Brad Pitt vs Angelina Jolie one which is still going, four and a half years later, can fill you with dread: could your divorce really take years to finalise?

How Long Does a Divorce Take?

Research shows that the average divorce can take between four to six months to complete.

But the truth is, a divorce can take months, or it can take years. The amount of time it takes you to complete the divorce process largely depends on you, your partner and your circumstances.

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What Makes a Divorce Take Longer?

Situations like the below can often make the divorce process take longer as they have to be dealt with separately and can be the source of intense friction and, therefore, delays:

  • if one party doesn’t want to divorce;
  • if you have children and need to sort child arrangements and financial support;
  • if you own property together or have many shared assets.

3 Ways to Speed the Divorce Process up

If you want your divorce to be over as quickly as possible, it’s vitally important that you:

1. Make Sure Your Partner Agrees to the Divorce

Currently, if your partner doesn’t want to get a divorce or you can’t agree on the reason why you’re getting one, it can cause friction and stop your case from moving forwards.

However, it’s worth knowing that from 6th April 2022, you’ll be able to apply for a No-Fault Divorce. This means that couples won’t have to agree on the grounds for getting a divorce if the marriage has broken down through no fault of anyone. There will be a 20-week cooling-off period though, to give couples the opportunity to work through their differences before committing to a divorce.

We’ll be releasing further information about the new No-Fault Divorce Law in April.

If your divorce is mutual and it’s an amicable split, you could always instruct the same solicitor for a quicker divorce. Our Family Law team offers a service called Separating Together which has been proven to speed up the divorce process. Using one solicitor means there is less back and forth and less waiting for the other party to respond to emails or send documentation.

2. Be Organised and Respond Quickly

With divorce comes plenty of paperwork. Talk to your Family Law Solicitor to find out what documents and information you’re likely to need, so you can have it to hand. For example, at some point during the divorce process, you’ll need to supply your Solicitor with your marriage certificate. If you don’t have it or can’t find it, then rather than hold the entire process up as you wait for a new one to come, order a new one from the registry office as soon as you can.

If you’re using separate Solicitors for your divorce, it’s also important that you respond to all emails, phone calls, or requests for information from your Family Law Solicitor and theirs, as quickly as possible. Delays in getting answers to questions or providing the right documentation can have a knock-on effect on the time it takes for your divorce to complete.

3. Choose the Right Divorce Solicitors

If you want your divorce to go through as quickly as possible, it’s important that you instruct an experienced Divorce Lawyer to handle your divorce case. Choose one that you know you can trust, that believes in regular, open communication with their clients, and one that will be there to support you throughout the entire process.

Shop around, take advice from friends and look at customer testimonials. 

For example, the Family Law team at Simpson Millar has been dealing with divorce cases for over 80 years. You can see our testimonials on Trust Pilot here

Our clients rate us asExcellentStars4.5 out of 5 based off 2587 reviewsTrustpilot

Client testimonials are a great way to help you choose

  • "Amazing service provided from start to finish. The communication was outstanding with regular updates and explanations of what next steps were along the process. Definitely value for money with Simpson Millar and a firm that I won’t hesitate to use again in the future. I would highly recommend them to anyone!"


    Simpson Millar Divorce Client

We don’t believe in using complicated legal jargon when talking to our clients, but we do believe in keeping them updated throughout the entire process and making sure that they understand exactly what’s going on.

Get in touch and we can talk through your situation in a no-obligation consultation.

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