A quick divorce based on irreconcilable differences. Guest Blog by Raworths Family Law
Sounds good doesn’t it. A quick divorce. Once you’ve made the decision you want it to happen. We see many married couples who do wish to separate and resolve matters as quickly and as amicably as possible.
So many will consult with their legal advisor having seen and heard in the media that the latest celebrity has had a ‘quickie’ divorce on the basis of ‘irreconcilable difference’. They see this as being the ideal solution for them to resolve the difficult situation they find themselves in.
To their credit, but is it possible?
We have now seen the most recent of celebrity couples to separate and file for divorce citing irreconcilable differences. Brangelina no more!
However, it comes as a shock to most that under the jurisidiction of England and Wales, a divorce based on ’irreconcilable differences’ is not an option.
Angelina quoted irreconcilable differences when filing for divorce. America has its own set of laws surrounding divorce and many people don’t realise that our laws are significantly different. There has been much talk on this side of the pond about the concept of a “no fault” divorce being introduced.
This is not an option as yet and the reality is that the only ground for a divorce is to show that a marriage has irretrievably broken down. This needs to be proved by relying on one of five facts
2. unreasonable behaviour
4. 2 years separation with both parties consent, or
5. 5 years separation.
Many people feel that it is unfair that if they wish to divorce straight away (rather than wait for a period of at least 2 years) they must give details of the other persons behaviour that caused the breakdown. They believe that this approach is archaic and unhelful and many lawyers agree too. This is even more so the case where there are children of the family and where parties wish to reamin on amicable terms for the benefit of the children.
One of Englands most senior judges, Baroness Hale, believes that a no fault divorce should be introduced. If nobody is to ‘blame’ for the breakdown of a marriage under the current system, both parties must wait until they have been separated for at least 2 years which brings with it its own problems and risks.
This 2 year waiting period comes as a suprise to many people and often, when discussed with an individual, they seek a quicker option having ‘just grown apart’ or ‘we no longer share the same interests’. These are of course relevant and justifiable reasons to decide to separate but they are not sufficient to satisfy a court that the marriage has broken down on the basis of the other persons behaviour.
In these circumstances you will need to put together what will be described as a ‘statement of case’ and your lawyer will be adept at putting together a statement in the mildest terms possible yet comprehensive enough to satisfiy the court that there is sufficient grounds on the basis of unreasonable behaviour to proceed with the divorce.
Is there really such a thing? Possibly Brad and Angelia will divorce very quickly however, in short, under the law of England and Wales, as it stands today, there is no such thing as a quickie divorce.
It is also a myth that one type of divorce is quicker than another, regardless of reason for the divorce, as long as the divorce is agreed by both parties and not defended, the proceedings take place at the same court and are processed in the date order they are received. The impression given in the media that celebrities can use their status to ‘bump them up the list’ is, in reality, not the case.
Most divorces (not taking into consideration resolving the children and financial issues) will take approximately 4 – 6 months to complete.
Speeding up the divorce process
There are many factors that can make a separation quicker than the average. Before starting divorce proceedings, have a think through the following:
– Agreeing the process and wording with your spouse before proceedings are issued
– Finding your original marriage certificate or obtaining a certified copy
– Choosing the right lawyer with experience, knowledge and understanding
– Your spouse returning the Acknowledgement of Service form (the form sent to them by the Court to confirm that they have received the papers and that they agree to information provided) back to the court promptly
These are all important steps you should take when starting your divorce procedure. They can help to make sure that your divorce goes through as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Have any points raised in this blog raised questions for you? Give me, Jo Broadhead, or any member of my team here at Raworths a call. I am a Senior Associate in our Family Law team and you can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01423 566666.