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How long does divorce take?

5 replies

PerditaMcLeod · 21/09/2011 09:31

I suspect the answer is 'how long is a piece of string?' but would be interested to hear your experiences.

A bit of background.... DH and I separated back in January. We have 1 DD who currently lives with him as prior to split I was working away most of the time. I have now settled and have a home and would like her to come and live with me. We have tried to reach some kind of compromise over arrangements for her but even mediation failed.

We are now at the point where DH is starting proceedings against me and I know we will end up having to go to court. I am (rather naively!) I think hoping that things won't get too acrimonious but I am not too hopeful.

I was wondering for those of you who have gone through divorce requiring going to court, how long did it take? And if I may ask, what were the costs like?

Thanks in advance.

OP posts:
RedRubyBlue · 21/09/2011 11:48

You have answered your own question really. It can take as long as you string it out for.

Mine was four months but it was cut and dried with no DC's and we sorted out the finances between us.

My friend (she was on legal aid) strung it out for months as she knew her DH was struggling to pay his lawyer so he just backed down in the end, I think it took her about 18 months to settle and involved several court trips.

Remember though - the only people who 'win' in a divorce are the lawyers.

Beamur · 21/09/2011 11:52

Not so easy if you can't agree on key issues.
My DP and his ex did their own divorce, without lawyers - you can got the forms and do it yourself. Not recommended though if you think the terms or settlements on the table are not fair.
This website might be helpful.

tipitout · 24/09/2011 17:02

A rough estimate is 6 months.

susiedaisy · 27/09/2011 23:12

From start to finish mine is going to take about a year, it has been getting the appointments for mediation, court, and solicitors that had taken the time rather than the paperwork itself.

glowfrog · 04/10/2011 15:15

You say he started proceedings against you - does that mean you will be liable for the costs?

From my own experience... My DH nearly went through a difficult divorce from his ex, both from a financial and access to kids point of view. A number of things helped matters a lot in the end:

  1. He initiated proceedings, as it enabled him to make her liable for costs. He felt it was necessary for him to do as his ex's first lawyer was appalling and it was starting to look like things could get really strung along for ages, making losers of everyone, especially financially. HOWEVER - the other more important reason is that he then said - although I can make you liable for costs, I won't. This sent a strong signal about his desire to be reasonable, to her, to her lawyer and the courts.

2. In terms of access to the children - again, in the early days, she would only let him have access for a few hours on a Saturday, to take the oldest swimming etc. But his lawyer advised strongly against fighting for more because DH could confirm that he felt her ex was being anxious about the kids' safety rather than malicious (nevermind that DH is an AMAZING, considerate dad - she was/is a very anxious person - but that's another story!).

He and the lawyer were right - over a few months, that side of things improved dramatically and now we've got them every other weekend, lots of over holidays (we've taken 2 x 10 day holidays with them this year, including to the other side of the world!). So in brief - first, work out why your DH is being difficult about access before getting the courts involved. If you feel confident that side of things will improve naturally over time, try and avoid being 'pushy' about it.

It does sound like it's going to be a difficult one, though, and I'm sorry to hear that. The most difficult part is to avoid making it personal. As far as the courts are concerned, do whatever you need to do to appear the reasonable one. That will count massively in your favour so do keep trying for mediation and of course document everything, including keeping a diary of everything you do with your child, how often you see her etc (my DH still keeps all our train tickets from our travels to pick them up/take them home etc!).

If you can show you do have a certain amount of access informally already, the courts will be keen to use that as precedent. So don't disregard any time spent with her, even if a couple of hours here and there and so on rather than overnight.
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