Divorces now taking longer

As we have said here before: it’s the question to which anyone involved in divorce proceedings wants to know the answer: how long will it take?

The latest statistics published by the Ministry of Justice, for the period January to March 2018, indicate that divorces are now taking longer to process. The average time to the Decree Nisi is now 27 weeks from the date that the divorce petition was issued, up 3 weeks from the same period last year, and the average time to the Decree Absolute, which finalises the divorce, is now 51 weeks from the date of the petition, up 2 weeks from the same period last year. So a little longer than previously and, we suspect, rather longer than most people would imagine. These are, in fact, the highest figures since the current records began.

It should be pointed out that how long the divorce takes does not just depend upon how long the divorce centre takes to process it. In most cases it is not advisable to finalise the divorce until financial matters have been resolved. Obviously, it may take longer than 51 weeks to resolve those matters, and that will therefore mean that the divorce will take longer.

By the same token, it is quite possible to complete a divorce in considerably less than 51 weeks. One-third (33%) of divorce petitions issued between 1 January 2011 and 31 March 2018 reached Decree Nisi in the first quarter after the petition was issued, with just over a further third (38%) reaching that stage within the second quarter. Over half the petitions reached Decree Absolute within three quarters after the petition (1% in the first quarter, 35% within 1 to 2 quarters and 19% within 2 to 3 quarters).

You can read the statistics here.

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Image: Time, by barbie.harris37, licensed under CC BY 2.0.