Legislation on divorce reform published today (January 8 2020) contains a hidden bombshell that would lengthen the minimum time that a divorce can take – effectively eliminating ‘quickie’ divorces, explains Boodle Hatfield the leading private wealth law firm.

The legislation would lengthen the shortest period for a divorce from eight to ten weeks now, to 26 weeks under the proposed reform.

Emily Brand, Partner at Boodle Hatfield says: “This is going to more than double the amount of time it takes to complete those divorces where one party really needs to complete the divorce quickly.”

“Quickie” divorces are often rushed through for sensible reasons, such as where the home environment has really deteriorated or where one of the separated partners is expecting a baby and wants to get remarried before the baby is born.”

“That will come as quite a surprise, as the expectation was that digitalisation of the court process would be used to enable quicker divorces to be undertaken.”

The bill’s draft proposes a new minimum period of 20 weeks between the initial petition for divorce and the “decree nisi”, followed by another six weeks before the final decree.

Adds Emily: “Sometimes a marriage has become so stressful that both parties want to end that marriage as quickly as possible – unfortunately this legislation doesn’t help that kind of situation.”

This article first appeared in INews and EPrivateClient on 9 January 2020.