If you are considering a divorce or taking the first steps toward separating from a spouse, you may wonder, “How long does a divorce take?” As an individual facing divorce, you probably want the process to progress as quickly as possible so that you can begin to move forward with your life. Although the timeline for the finalization of a divorce varies from one case to another, certain factors impact how soon you reach the final stage.
Contested Versus Uncontested Divorce
Contested and uncontested divorce cases may vary greatly in the time they take to resolve. In an uncontested divorce, there are no major disagreements between the involved parties regarding the details of the divorce—such as the division of assets, custody, and other commonly disputed areas. The parties agree on the divorce terms and follow the legal process to finalize the divorce under the laws in their state and through the courts. In comparison, a contested divorce involves issues concerning the dissolution of marriage that the parties cannot agree upon. They may require time to negotiate a solution or the intervention and decision of the court regarding the disputed matters.
An uncontested divorce will resolve much more quickly than a contested divorce case. In an uncontested divorce, the parties may still need to go through state procedures guiding the divorce process; however, because there are no disagreements, the case can move toward a divorce decree relatively quickly. A contested divorce, on the other hand, may take significant time to resolve, as the parties must go through the litigation process. This could involve mediation, arbitration, negotiations, and, if necessary, a trial.
What Factors Influence the Length of Time It Takes to Finalize a Divorce?
While the key factor determining how long a case takes to finalize is whether it is a contested or uncontested divorce, other factors may impact the time it takes to complete.
Outstanding Custody or Asset Issues
Parties can reach an agreement without the court’s decision, even in a case that starts as a contested divorce. If they negotiate and reach agreements on critical issues—such as the custody of children and the division of assets—the divorce can become uncontested and move toward the final stage without needing a trial.
Availability of the Court
All divorce cases must follow the law of the jurisdiction in which the filing occurs and await the availability of the court to review or finalize any divorce agreements between the parties. Although waiting for a court date can take some time, it is not a matter of weeks but months or years. It may take longer than expected in specific scenarios, depending on the demand and caseload of the family court in the area.
Jurisdictional Laws Applicable to a Case
Each state may have different requirements for parties seeking a divorce. Laws implementing waiting periods, proof for grounds for divorce, separation time, residency requirements, mediation, and other procedural rules in a jurisdiction may affect how long a divorce takes. In some states, it may be possible to reach a divorce agreement and approval by the court in a matter of months, while in others, it could take a year or longer to reach the final stage of the legal divorce process.
Call Us To Find Out How Long Your Divorce Might Take
Contact a qualified divorce lawyer in your area to ensure you finalize your divorce as quickly as possible, protect your rights under the law, and abide by the procedures and rules in your jurisdiction. An experienced divorce attorney at Capital Family & Divorce Law Group can guide you through the often stressful and challenging divorce process, help you move forward, and answer your questions, such as: “How long does a divorce take?”