Harold G Walker

Harold G Walker Solicitors

Your Friend-In-Law for over 77 years


Colin Mitchell

Colin Mitchell

Family Solicitor and Collaborative Family Lawyer

Celebrity Divorce and the Real World

You might have read media reports of Louise Rednap being “granted a divorce decree during a 25 second hearing” for reason of Jamie Redknapp’s “unreasonable behaviour”, which Jamie chose not to contest. Another celebrity divorce has also recently hit the headlines, concerning Ant McPartlin.

Whilst the HGW Family Team usually help people who are a lot less rich and famous than the Redknapp’s and the McPartlin’s, there are still some important lessons which can be learnt from divorcing celebrity couples.

What is an uncontested “fault” based divorce?

Whilst it possible to agree on financial matters soon after separation and then divorce after 2 years by mutual agreement, many couples prefer not to wait those 2 years being getting divorced.

Currently, the law of England & Wales requires one half of the couple (the Petitioner) to blame the other person (the Respondent) for “unreasonable behaviour” or “adultery” if they wish to divorce without waiting 2 years from the time they separate.

However, getting divorced sooner rather than later based on the “fault” of the other person, does not have to result in conflict.

Jamie Redknapp is recently quoted as saying that he’s unhappy at being blamed, but he decided not to contest Louise’s divorce application, to get it over and done with.” This is the recommended approach, to allow a divorce to proceed uncontested with minimum stress and cost.

The truth is, that apart from hurt feelings, the fact that one person has blamed by the other within the divorce application makes no real difference when resolving either financial issues or child arrangements.

How long does a “quickie” divorce actually take?

The quickest time for an uncontested divorce from start to finish (with the grant of Decree Absolute), is about 4 months. The “25-second hearing” mentioned in reports about the Redknapp’s divorce, was only a very small (but important) part of the overall divorce process.

However, what can take longer is the time required to make sure financial issues have been properly resolved. It is recommended that the divorce process is not completed (ie. Decree Absolute is not obtained) until financial issues have been recorded within a Family Court order. It is this which can mean a divorce often takes longer than 4 months.

Divorce and Finances

It is essential to remember that the divorce process alone does not resolve any financial issues. Nor does it provide either person with any safeguard against future financial claims by the other. This makes it essential for a divorcing couple to also achieve a legally binding agreement (a “Consent Order”), even when their divorce is amicable.

When considering financial issues, there are 3 main parts to consider:

  1. Capital – this includes equity in the family home, savings and investments
  2. Pensions – this includes both private pension schemes and state pension benefits
  3. Income – this includes how income might be shared by maintenance payments

How long it takes to resolve these financial issues will very much depend on whether the couple can resolve these issues in a constructive and non-confrontational manner. Couples have several options available, all aimed at helping them keep their case out of the Family Court and avoid excessive legal costs.

For further information please contact our Family Law team.