Changes to the way we live and work may have been behind the recent spike in searches for terms like “how to get a divorce” and “divorce application”. This is according to research by Kent law firm Whitehead Monckton.
According to their research, Peterborough is the UK’s hotspot for divorce searches. This is followed by Leicester, Stoke, Birmingham and then London.
Further down the top ten list, we find Glasgow, Bradford, Hull, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Plymouth and Southampton. Clearly, nowhere in the country is safe from the turbulence of marriage.
Divorce rates tend to spike after the summer school holidays and again in January after Christmas break. In the past 18 months, divorce enquiries spiked following the easing of national lockdowns.
The most common divorce search terms
Searching for information about divorce doesn’t necessarily mean that you are seeking a divorce. However, some of the search terms studied seem to suggest a higher intent.
Searches for the term “divorce” have fallen over the last year by 28%. There was a spike in this search term just after the end of the December 2020 lockdown and again when the lockdown was eased in May.
The term “how to get a divorce” has attracted more attention and are up 126% from last year. And the phrase “how long does it take to get a divorce UK” peaked in August 2021. And finally, the cost of a divorce is also on people’s minds. There was an increase of 59% for the search term “how much does a divorce cost”.
But perhaps the biggest indicator that people are ready to pull the trigger on their divorce is the incredible 417% increase in searches for the term “divorve lawyers near me”.
So, how do you get a divorce in the UK?
For all those interested in moving forward with the process, the first thing to consider is the timescale. If you have decided to separate amicably, it may be better to wait until April 2022 for pending changes to UK divorce law. This will mean that couples can get divorced without placing blame, provided they both agree to separate.
For those keen to get the ball moving sooner, or those dealing with a difficult spouse, they will have to determine who is at fault and prove that their marriage has broken down. They must choose which of the following grounds for divorce to cite in their divorce application:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Separated for two years with mutual consent
- Separated for five years, no consent needed
One party must file for divorce and then await a response from their spouse. If the conditions are satisfied and everyone is happy to move forward, a decree nisi is granted. The couple must then wait six weeks and one day before they can apply for a decree absolute. This will dissolve their marriage.
How long does a divorce take?
At the moment, an uncontested divorce will take around 4-6 months to complete. If there are any disagreements along the way, this can take much longer. Complicated financial arrangements, co-owned businesses and children will all make the process much more difficult to untangle.
When the no-fault marriages comes into play in 2022, there are also plans to streamline the minimum amount of time it will take to get a divorce. Again, this counteracts the potential negative impact on marriage by making it easier for couples to divorce.
From April 2022, it is proposed that couples undergo a period of reflection of three months. This is intended to help couples determine if they really want to divorce or would rather work on their marriage.