Media portrayal of ‘Quickie Divorce’ incorrect
A recent article in The Independent incorrectly implied that the proposed divorce reforms will pave the way for a ‘quickie divorce’. The article highlighted the economic disadvantages being faced by woman on divorce if finances have not being addressed properly during negotiations and legal advice has not been sought. It also speculated that the new reforms which will be brought in by the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill will pave the way for a ‘quickie divorce’ and make this problem even worse.
The imbalance of financial division on divorce and the potential loss of pension rights is a serious problem. However once again the media are adding fuel to a fire which shouldn’t have been started in the first place.
Key points to note for anyone contemplating starting divorce proceedings:
- There’s no such thing as quickie divorce – Even with the introduction of filing divorce petitions online the process still takes a minimum of 4-6 months from the date it is filed and is much longer if the petition is submitted as a paper application to a regional divorce centre (approximately 9-12 months). These timescales do not account for all the negotiation that sometimes has to take place with the other party in getting the wording of the fault based allegations into an agreed format.
- No-fault divorce will not create quickie divorce – if spouses or civil partners are able to present a petition to the court with a joint statement indicating they want to end their legal relationship, the process is still the same and will still take as long as the timescales set out in point 1 above.
- No-fault divorce makes absolutely no difference to finances. The reason given to the court for the breakdown of the relationship has absolutely no bearing on how assets should be divided. Obtaining a Decree Absolute or a Final Order does not automatically terminate financial claims. The only way that can be done is with a separate court order.
For anyone considering ending their relationship it is important to get legal advice from the outset. Our family solicitors offer a fixed price initial consultation in order to go through individual circumstances and provide advice on the road ahead. Call 01473 617 317 for more information.
Amanda Erskine is a solicitor in the Family department at Barker Gotelee Ipswich Solicitors.