Not another celebrity ‘quickie divorce’!
The media widely publicised the divorce yesterday, 29 December, of Louise and Jamie Redknapp “in just 20 seconds” and after 19 years of marriage!
That is certainly quick but not as quick as Cheryl Tweedy’s divorce to Jean-Bernard in only “14 seconds”
I am not sure whether someone takes a stopwatch into court or whether there is a Usain Bolt type world record in the offing but this media reporting is a gross exaggeration of what actually happens.
The colloquialism “quickie divorce” is widely used by the media and people of the street nowadays. But what is actually meant by this term?
Media stories are sensationalised and that a marriage can somehow be dissolved in a matter of minutes or even seconds is simply wrong; but behind this façade is a process commonly taking 4-6 months on an uncontested basis.
What happened yesterday to the Redknapps was simply a judge reading out the Decree Nisi (the interim divorce order) and it would have taken something like 3 months to reach that stage; and they will still have a cooling off period of 6 weeks and one day before the Decree Absolute (the final divorce order) can be granted; and all of this ignores any children or financial issues which need to be resolved and which can take much, much longer.
The speed at which a judge can read out a Decree Nisi simply looks at the issue of divorce in a vacuum and really is meaningless; it’s purpose is only to intrude on parties’ privacy and create headlines on what was otherwise a slow news day.
We will also now brace ourselves for ‘Divorce Day’ and for those that do not know, this is the first Monday after a full working week in January where there is a spike in divorces; and which on my calculation will be this 15th January. This time, however, there is an element of truth in this myth: people may attempt to keep it together over Christmas but then want to know their legal rights in the New Year but that does not necessarily translate into a separation or divorce.
So, in the real world there is no such thing as a ‘quickie divorce’ and I think care is needed because on the one hand it can create unrealistic expectations on parties wishing to separate but, worse still, it can underline the sad fact that marriage is disposable when it is not. Divorce is not to entered into lightly and careful consideration of all options is needed, including couples’ counselling or mediation together with the impact of all of this will have on the family both for any children and financially too.
In every situation, what is needed is good and specialist legal advice from a family law solicitor; and someone who is at hand to advise about all of the family law options and to allow a party time to make a considered decision.
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