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The real facts behind the so called ‘quickie divorce’

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The real facts behind the so called ‘quickie divorce’

Vanessa Fox
Vanessa Fox MMB Sheffield Blogger


By Vanessa Fox – Keebles

The ‘quickie divorce’, a phrase bandied around by the media when covering celebrity break ups, does not exist.


Everyone embarking on divorce – whether magnates, millionaires, film stars or the majority of people going about their daily lives has to follow a nine-stage process – which can take months as opposed to minutes.


You have to be married for a year to apply for divorce. Stage 1 sees you as ‘the petitioner’ filing a petition to the court on the grounds that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. It costs £550 and you can apply online.

STAGES 2 – 4

In stages 2-4 the court forwards a copy of your application to your husband/wife, referred to as ‘the respondent’ who must then complete an Acknowledgment of Service form sent by the court. When completed, the court sends this form to you.


The respondent then has two weeks to decide whether or not to contest the divorce petition. This is stage 5 of the process. If they oppose it, they are required to fill out an ‘Answer to Divorce’ petition explaining why and pay a fee. At this stage your wife/husband can also start divorce proceedings against you. This usually happens if they have counterclaims on the basis of your unreasonable behaviour or adultery. Six weeks could now have lapsed since you filed your petition.

STAGE 6 -7

In steps 6 and 7 you apply for a decree nisi, confirming you want to go forward with the divorce. You send this form to the court with a copy of your husband/ wife’s response to the divorce petition.
Your decree nisi is then placed before the Judge, and is usually eventually granted, provided the judge agrees that the grounds are reasonable and the respondent does not oppose the divorce. A court hearing is needed if the decree nisi is opposed, after which the judge could either grant the decree nisi or issue a ‘notice of refusal of judge’s certificate’ form, outlining why you can’t divorce.

The judge may also ask for more information or a second court hearing may be required. If the judge agrees that the decree nisi can be made, the names of all those whose decrees are being pronounced that day is read out in court, a process which takes a few minutes – hence the notion of a “quickie divorce”.

In the penultimate stage, you apply for a decree absolute six weeks after your decree nisi has been granted. This is the document that legally ends your marriage and is granted in the ninth and final stage of the divorce.

These same steps also apply for those seeking to dissolve a civil partnership.

This process currently takes at least 6 months to conclude, due to court delays in processing the decree nisi.

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