I’m a celebrity… get me a quickie divorce!

I’m a celebrity… get me a quickie divorce!

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘quickie divorce’? In December 2017 the media reported that Jamie Redknapp obtained a quickie divorce and was able to end his 19 year marriage in just ‘25 seconds’.

When celebrities like Jamie Redknapp get divorced the phrase ‘quickie divorce’ is frequently thrown about by the media, leaving many people to believe that their own divorces can be completed very simply and granted by the court within a few seconds.

Quickie divorces are a bit like the common law marriage myth – they are just not real! On average an undefended divorce will take four to six months to complete, even if you are a celebrity. So where does the term quickie divorce originate from?

What is usually reported by the media is the pronouncement of the first divorce order, the decree nisi. This is a provisional order where the court concludes that the parties’ marriage has broken down irretrievably. This process is performed in open court and a judge will simply read out a list of people entitled to a decree nisi on that day. As this process can take seconds for the judge to complete the media often mistakenly believe that this is the final divorce order – hence the term ‘quickie divorce’.

In actual fact, once the decree nisi has been pronounced the person applying for the divorce must then wait at least six weeks and one day before applying for the final order, the decree absolute. It is only once the decree absolute is pronounced that the parties are legally divorced.

Even if a decree absolute has been made, only the divorce procedure is complete and the parties will still need to settle their financial claims against one another. If contested, financial matters can often take on average between 12-18 months to finalise and family law solicitors usually do not usually advise applying for the decree absolute until the financial proceedings have been completed.

Unfortunately even the most straightforward of divorces cannot be considered ‘quick’, and whilst expert family lawyers can streamline the process, unfortunately no divorce will conclude in just 25 seconds!

If you are contemplating divorce and want to speak about your options, contact Richard Burnham, a solicitor in our family department at r.burnham@rfblegal.co.uk.


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