Once again the press (the Metro) have reported on a ‘quickie divorce’. Today it was that of Elizabeth Hurley. It is incredibly frustrating as a divorce solicitor to see these stories repeated over and over again when they are not accurate. Firstly, if they have ‘secured a decree nisi’ then they are not divorced.
The decree nisi is simply the first stage at which a Judge considers the petition for divorce. The decree absolute which is granted at least six weeks later is the final order of divorce.
The article goes on to state that the relationship had ‘broken down irretrievably’ due to the husband’s ‘unreasonable behaviour’ and that Hurley ‘cannot be reasonably expected’ to live with him. The fact that the marriage has broken down irretrievably is the only ground on which a court can grant a divorce and the unreasonable behaviour of the respondent is one of the recognised facts to evidence an irretrievable breakdown.
It is also entirely normal for neither party to attend the hearing at the Principal Registry of the High Court Family Division when decree nisi is granted. All these snippets are reported as if they are highly unusual but in fact they are entirely common place in divorce proceedings. I expect that the result of yet another article on a celebrity’s ‘quickie divorce’ will lead to yet further clients approaching people like me demanding ‘quickie divorces’.