The top 5 common questions about divorce… answered


1. How long does a divorce take?

A straightforward divorce can take around seven months from start to finish, if all matters are agreed between both partners. However, if it takes you and your spouse time to agree on financial matters or how to manage the children, then it can take longer. If pensions and complicated finances are involved, these need to be ascertained, and the values calculated.

It is, however better to get everything addressed – properly and thoroughly – than to rush and miss out on assets that you might benefit from.

Other factors that effect timescales include:

  • how long it takes you and your spouse to complete documentation and provide paperwork,
  • the efficiency of your solicitor,
  • and if there are any backlogs in the court system.

2. Will the courts be involved?

Not necessarily. If you can reach an agreement between yourselves, then the courts might not need to be involved. Court proceedings are usually required to:

  • move matters along if either party is dragging their feet,
  • or to make a final decision on asset division or children.

3. How much does a divorce cost?

The actual process of divorce is inexpensive. The divorce application fee charged by the court is £593. The majority of additional costs come from resolving the finances when both parties are unable to do so themselves or want third party guidance. How much a solicitor will charge will depend on how complex the finances are and how much disagreement there is.

Before you rush into a DIY, online divorce to save money, consider using a solicitor. They are skilled at understanding financial matters, asking the right questions, pulling out information on all the assets, and ensuring a fair split.

In a recent study by the University of Bristol, only 28% of divorcees reported receiving half of the assets. And even the definition of ‘half’ was generous (‘half’ was deemed at 40-50%).

Spending money on a solicitor could ensure your that you receive a larger (and fairer) amount of the assets.

4. Who will the children live with?

When a couple divorces, the preference for most parents is to have a shared care arrangement. This means that your child(ren) spend a fairly balanced amount of time with each parent. Sometimes, practically, this cannot work, and one parent may have a ‘lives with’ order which specifies where the child lives. If you want to seek a ‘lives with’ order for your child, you will need to make an application to the court, unless it is agreed between you both.

5. Where do I start to find out what my assets are?

In the University of Bristol study, they concluded that an unfair split of assets happened due to lack of financial (and legal) knowledge. 37% did not know the value of their own pension pot. 23% said they did not understand the type of pension they had. 10% of homeowners said they didn’t know what equity they had in the house.

Spouses sometimes agree the valuations of their assets between them. Estate agents can value any houses or property and other experts can be used for other assets: accountants to value a business or actuaries to give advice on pensions. A solicitor can manage this process for you and push for disclosure from the other side, if information on your ex-partner’s assets are not forthcoming.

For more information, contact Rachel Davies on 01756 692877 or email


Further information

In a divorce, both parties should get a ‘fair share’. Only 28% do

Resolution: trying to take the ‘difficult’ out of divorce

Check you can get a divorce