How Long Does a Divorce Take?

February 20, 2024by Adam Sacks

How Long Does it Take To Get Divorced?

Ever wondered how long a divorce takes?

From legal stuff to personal situations, we’ll walk you through what influences how quickly or slowly a divorce can happen. Whether you’re thinking about it or just curious, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what goes into the timing of a divorce.

 

What State Do You Live In?

The length of time it takes to get a divorce varies from state to state. Each state has its own laws regarding divorce, which can impact the timeline of the process. The length of time it takes to get a divorce can range from several months to a few years.

Some states have a mandatory waiting period before a divorce can be finalized, while others do not. The complexity of the divorce, the amount of disagreement between the spouses, and the backlog of cases in the court system can all affect the length of time it takes to finalize a divorce.

A divorce can be completed relatively quickly if both parties agree on all aspects of the divorce, such as the division of assets and custody of children. In cases of disagreement and the divorce becomes contested, the process can be significantly prolonged.

 

Type of Divorce You Choose

The most common type of divorce is a traditional litigated divorce. In this type of divorce, each party hires an attorney to represent them, and the case is settled in court. Litigated divorces can be time-consuming, often involving lengthy court battles and negotiations. On average, a litigated divorce can take six months to several years to finalize.

Another option is a collaborative divorce, where both parties work with their attorneys to reach an agreement outside of court. Collaborative divorces tend to be faster than litigated divorces, often taking around three to nine months to finalize.

Mediation may be the best choice for those looking for a quicker option. In mediation, a neutral third party helps the couple negotiate and come to a settlement agreement. Mediated divorces can be resolved in as little as two to four months.

Type of Divorce You Choose

 

How Complex is Your Divorce?

The timeframe for a divorce can vary greatly depending on a number of factors. Some uncontested divorces can be finalized in as little as a few months. If the divorce is contested and the parties are unable to agree on important issues, the process can be much more complex and time-consuming. It is not uncommon for a divorce to take a year or more to finalize.

The complexity of a divorce can also be influenced by other factors, such as the presence of high-value assets, businesses, or complex financial arrangements. The involvement of children can add another layer of complexity to the divorce process, as issues related to child custody and support must be resolved.

The willingness and ability of the parties to communicate and cooperate with each other can also impact the complexity of a divorce. A lack of cooperation and communication can lead to prolonged negotiations and legal battles, further extending the duration of the divorce.

 

Is There Child Custody or Child Support?

One of the most important issues to address in a divorce involving children is child custody and child support. These matters can significantly impact the well-being and future of the children involved, and as such, they are often the focal point of contention during divorce proceedings.

Child custody refers to the legal and practical guardianship of a child. There are different types of custody arrangements, including sole, joint, and shared custody. The best interests of the child are always paramount in determining custody arrangements, and several factors, such as the parent’s ability to provide a stable and nurturing environment, the child’s relationship with each parent, and the child’s own preferences, are considered when making custody decisions.

Disagreement on child support or child custody can significantly impact how long the divorce may take.

Is There Child Custody or Child Support?

 

What if Both Parties Agree?

When both parties agree on the divorce terms, it is often called an “uncontested divorce.” In an uncontested divorce, the couple has already agreed on important issues such as child custody and visitation, spousal support, division of assets, and other relevant matters. This can significantly streamline the process, eliminating the need for lengthy negotiations and court hearings.

One of the major advantages of an uncontested divorce is the potential for a faster resolution. Without the need to prosecute, the divorce can often be finalized more quickly, allowing both parties to move on with their lives as soon as possible. It may be possible to complete the entire process in months, particularly in states with expedited divorce procedures for uncontested cases.

 

Fault vs. No-Fault Divorce

One consideration in divorce is whether a state recognizes fault or no-fault divorce. In a fault divorce, one party must prove that the other party is responsible for the breakdown of the marriage, often on the grounds of adultery, cruelty, or abandonment. [1]

This can lead to a longer, more adversarial process, as both parties may need to present evidence and witness testimony to support their claims. Fault-based divorces tend to take longer to resolve and can be more emotionally draining for the parties involved.

A no-fault divorce allows couples to end their marriage without placing blame on either party. This can lead to a faster and less contentious process, as the focus is on reaching a fair settlement rather than proving fault.

Many states now recognize no-fault divorce as the preferred method for ending a marriage, and some even require couples to cite irreconcilable differences as the reason for the divorce.

 

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement is meant to lay out the terms of a potential divorce before the marriage takes place and can expedite the divorce process by addressing important issues, such as the division of assets and debts, spousal support, and other financial matters.

Prenuptial agreements are designed to protect the assets and financial interests of both parties in the event of a divorce. These agreements can help streamline the divorce process by clearly outlining the rights and responsibilities of each party, which can help reduce conflict and potential litigation.

Postnuptial agreements, on the other hand, are signed after the couple is already married and have similar purposes as prenups. They can be used to address changes in the couple’s financial situation or to clarify and reinforce the terms of a prenuptial agreement.

Both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can potentially shorten the length of time it takes to finalize a divorce by addressing and resolving key financial and property-related issues in advance.

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

 

Court Calendars

When it comes to divorce proceedings, the court calendar can significantly impact the length of time it takes for a divorce to be finalized. Courts may have a backlog of divorce cases, which can lead to delays in scheduling hearings and ultimately prolong the divorce process.

The availability of court dates can also affect how quickly a divorce is resolved. If the court calendar is full and there are limited dates available for hearings, it may take longer for a divorce case to be heard and decided upon.

If you live in Florida, Contact Sacks & Sacks today for a free consultation to get your divorce completed as efficiently as possible.

 

Source:

[1] Sember, B. (2022, September 28). How Long Does A Divorce Take? Forbes Advisor. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/legal/divorce/how-long-does-divorce-take/

by Adam Sacks

Adam Sacks is lead Family Law Attorney at Law Offices of Sacks & Sacks, P.A. in Jacksonville, Florida. He has a BA in Psychology from 1994, and received his Juris Doctor Degree in 1999 from the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School.

Sacks and Sacks Law
1646 Emerson St. Suite B Jacksonville, FL 32207

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