From a legal perspective, getting married is a simple process. Dissolving a marriage, on the other hand, is not usually as clear-cut. To relieve strain on its currently burdened court system of more than 120,000 divorces handled annually, the United Kingdom has recently implemented a new system allowing for what are essentially same-day divorces, those divorces able to be processed within one day or, at most, 48 hours from start to finish.
Currently in the United States the timing associated with getting divorced varies from state to state, ranging anywhere from weeks to months for uncontested divorces. In those situations where a divorce is contested, the process can drag on for years.
Historically, people filing for divorce in the United Kingdom were required to wait 33 weeks before having their decisions finalized.
Perks of filing for a same-day divorce include helping to limit client costs, which are estimated to run approximately £410 in the United Kingdom and, on average, $15,000 in the United States, which doesn’t currently offer the same-day option.
In order to accomplish its goal of increased expediency, the United Kingdom has decidedly shifted responsibility for dissolving marriages from judges to court administrators. A district court judge, however, must still approve a final divorce decree before it becomes legally binding.
The intention behind same day-divorce is to relieve divorce court judges from having to perform standardized and tedious procedures, affording them better use of both their time and resources and allowing adjudication of more significant matters.
Proponents of the new same-day divorce option claim it’s easy and therefore perfect for those who are certain they want to conclude their marriage. Applying for divorce under this new and more simplistic system has been compared to the ease with which people can apply for a driver license or sign up for TV service.
Critics, including some Christian groups, alternatively argue these “quickie” divorces may ultimately serve to not only undermine the sanctity of marriage by allowing couples to so easily call it quits, but also by effectively encouraging them to do so when not requiring applicants to give much thought to the religious vows they have taken.
It is important to note that a same-day divorce will not be granted until all other issues including custody, finances, and property distribution are resolved in advance.
Same-day divorce may serve to alleviate many of the hassles commensurate with the traditional divorce process. However, the real challenge ultimately remains for lawmakers to come up with a solution for alleviating the emotional strain divorce inevitably triggers.