Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Myth Lives On

The pronouncement yesterday of the decree nisi in the Adrian Chiles/Jane Garvey divorce produced the usual slew of tabloid headlines about it being a 'quickie' divorce. There must have even been someone at the High Court timing the pronouncement, with several papers reporting that it took a mere 83 seconds. Yes, I suppose that is quick, but the fact of the matter is that there is no such thing as a 'quickie' divorce. Either the divorce is defended or (as here) it is not. If it is not then the divorce can proceed on the papers, without the necessity of an attendance at court. However, that does not mean that it is particularly quick - it is still likely to take around six months from start to finish, assuming that the decree absolute is not delayed while financial/property matters are being resolved, as is often the case. It can be shorter - the quickest I got a divorce through in 25 years was about three months, but that depends upon how quickly the court deals with it, and nowadays most courts take considerably longer, in my experience at least. The media, however, seem to be convinced that it can be done much more rapidly - I've seen reports that it could only take a couple of weeks - often with the underlying suggestion that this speed somehow undermines the sanctity of marriage. This is just playing upon ignorance.

So, I'll say it again: there is no such thing as a 'quickie' divorce. It is a myth.

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