Barely a week now goes by without another celebrity “quickie divorce” hitting the headlines – the latest being that of the Duke of Northumberland’s daughter, as published in the Daily Telegraph.
Lady Melissa Percy married property consultant Thomas van Straubenzee in 2013 at a society wedding in Lady Percy’s ancestral home, Alnwick Castle – a wedding attended by both Princes William and Harry.
Unfortunately, less than three years later, professional tennis coach Lady Percy filed for divorce, citing grounds of unreasonable behaviour.
Predictably, this latest celebrity “uncoupling” has been pounced upon by the press, who focused on the latest craze of “quickie divorces”.
But let’s not forget that although such a hearing can take minutes if the correct paperwork is submitted, the production of a decree nisi is not the last stage of a divorce. Behind the scenes of any celebrity “quickie divorce” will be a process that actually took at least 4-6 months. And while the newspapers announce a celebrity couple as divorced after their decree nisi, they are in fact not divorced until at least 6 weeks’ later at the decree absolute stage.
It is highly unlikely and certainly inadvisable given the wealth amassed between this couple, that an informal financial arrangement will have been agreed. Negotiating any agreement, no matter how amicable, will take some time.
So despite the media hype, there is in fact no such thing as a “quickie divorce” in England for celebrities or the wealthy. The English legal system is the same for everyone and the best way to ensure that the process can proceed as quickly as possible is to gather all financial information in readiness, agree on fair terms if possible and ensure that you have a legal team who are prompt and efficient with the administration of the process.