Another celebrity’s relationship breaks down and once again the tabloid press report that the couple will be getting a ‘quickie’ divorce.

The latest celebrity separation to hit the news is that of Nigella Lawson and advertising tycoon Charles Saachi. Headlines I have read in relation to the story include ‘Nigella Cooks up a Quickie’ and ‘Nigella and Saatchi could be divorced in weeks’.  It sometimes feels that the press want the public to believe that if you are amongst the rich and famous you are entitled to, and have the ambit to obtain, a quick divorce. This is simply not the case.

The basis of divorce proceedings are the same, whether you are amongst the rich and famous or not. A petition has to be drafted, served on the other party, acknowledged by the other party and then a further application is to be made by the petitioner for a Decree Nisi. It is this document, the Decree Nisi, which the tabloid press are very quick to refer to when they state ‘they will be divorced within 17 days’. However, a Decree Nisi is not a final decree of divorce and in actual fact, following receipt of a Decree Nisi, a period of 6 weeks and 1 day has to elapse until such time as a Decree Absolute of divorce may be applied for. This is the case for every divorce, whether you are famous or not!

It may very well be the case that Nigella Lawson will obtain a Decree Nisi within 17 days but she will not be fully divorced from her husband until later on in the year, as is the case with all divorces.

Of course, divorce is made easier if there is not the argument in relation to financial remedy following a relationship breakdown. In this situation, a Clean Break Order will be entered into declaring that neither of the parties has recourse to the other in the future, in life or in death, for financial remedy. In the majority of cases, there is usually an argument as to who is going to benefit from the equity within the former family home; from a jointly owned business; from pensions and saving schemes, etc. It is that argument which extends the process and sometimes we find ourselves 18 months down the line still arguing about the financial aspect of the relationship.

A divorce within 17 days in the jurisdiction of England and Wales is not achievable. 17 days from petition of divorce until Decree Nisi is a tremendously short period of time but please do remember that the Nisi is not the divorce, and you are not divorced until such time as Decree Absolute has been applied for and received from the Court.

If you require any advice in relation to divorce or separation, please do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced Divorce Solicitors.