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How Long Does It Take to Get Divorced? Unveiling the Timeline of Freedom

Posted by Genghis X. Shakhan | Jun 26, 2024 | 0 Comments

The length of time it takes to get a divorce can vary widely based on several factors, including jurisdiction, the complexity of your case, whether the divorce is contested or uncontested, and the cooperation level between the parties, and their attorneys, involved. Here is a general overview of the timeline for different types of divorces:

1. Uncontested Divorce
An uncontested divorce is typically the quickest and simplest type of divorce. In this scenario, both parties agree on all major issues such as property division, child custody, spousal support and attorneys' fees. 

Divorce timeline

- Filing the Petition: The process begins when one spouse files a divorce petition.
- Response Time: The other spouse responds, indicating agreement.
- Settlement Agreement: Both parties submit a signed settlement agreement to the court.
- Waiting Period: Some jurisdictions have a mandatory waiting period (e.g., 30-60 days) before the divorce can be finalized.
- Final Judgment: The court reviews and, if everything is in order, issues a final divorce decree.

Timeline: Typically 1-3 months, assuming no delays and compliance with waiting periods.

2. Contested Divorce
A contested divorce occurs when the spouses cannot agree on one or more key issues and require the court to intervene.

- Filing the Petition: One spouse files a divorce petition.
- Response Time: The other spouse has a specific period (usually 30 days) to respond.
- Discovery Phase: Both parties gather and exchange information, which can take several months.
- Negotiation/Mediation: Spouses may try to resolve disputes through negotiation or mediation, which can add additional months.
- Pre-Trial Motions and Hearings: Various pre-trial motions and hearings can occur, potentially prolonging the process.
- Trial: If no agreement is reached, the case goes to trial. The trial scheduling depends on the court's calendar, which can lead to significant delays.
- Final Judgment: After the trial, the court issues a final judgment, which can take additional weeks or months.

Timeline: Typically 6 months to several years, depending on the complexity and contentiousness of the issues.

3. Default Divorce
If one spouse does not respond to the divorce petition, the other spouse can request a default judgment from the court.

- Filing the Petition: One spouse files the divorce petition.
- Response Period: The non-responding spouse has a specific period to respond (typically 30 days).
- Request for Default: If no response is received, the petitioner can request a default judgment.
- Court Review: The court reviews the petition and supporting documents before issuing a default judgment.

Timeline: Typically 1-3 months, assuming no response from the other spouse and compliance with waiting periods.

Factors Influencing the Timeline
- Jurisdiction: Different states and countries have varying laws and procedures.
- Complexity: More complex cases involving significant assets, businesses, or child custody issues can take longer.
- Court Schedules: Court backlogs and the availability of judges can delay proceedings.
- Cooperation: The level of cooperation between spouses, and their attorneys, significantly impacts the duration.

In conclusion, the time it takes to get a divorce depends on many factors, but understanding the general process can help you set realistic expectations and prepare you for the legal journey ahead. For specific timelines and advice, consulting with one of our family law attorneys at 404-999-9LAW is recommended.

About the Author

Genghis X. Shakhan

Genghis hails from the Buckeye State. He attended the Ohio State University for undergrad and graduate studies where he majored in post-colonial literature and hoped to become a college professor. ​ Genghis enjoys spending time with his daughter and reading at least one book a month in his leis...


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