How long divorce proceedings take is a large concern for many families. Long divorce proceedings mean more time and money spent in legal banter, raising the stress levels for everyone involved.
While individuals are usually looking for a definitive answer on how long their divorce process will take, the reality is that the amount of time spent in litigation depends entirely on the unique challenges of your case.
Keep reading for an overview on the average timelines of the 4 main types of divorce and learn which most resembles your personal case.
While this article goes through 4 types of divorce, they fall into two main categories: contested or uncontested. As the names suggest, contested divorces are those in which spouses disagree on terms and uncontested divorces are those in which spouses do agree.
Generally speaking, contested divorces or divorces with a missing spouse will take longer than uncontested divorces. This is due to a greater chance of time spent arguing or waiting on an unresponsive party. These problems can be made worse when child custody and child support are involved as it adds yet another layer of emotional and financial complexity to the case.
No one knows the circumstances of your divorce better than you– see below for which category is the best fit and what that might mean for your timeline.
This type of divorce is available to spouses who are not only in agreement on the terms of their divorce, but do not have any minor children, neither spouse is pregnant, and neither spouse is seeking alimony. This is by far the quickest method of divorce taking approximately 30 days to complete from start to finish.
While this is an unlikely category for the majority of divorce cases, these proceedings do exist. The good news: they are cheaper and faster than their contested counterparts.
In the case of uncontested divorces, both parties agree that it is best to move separate ways and further agree on the terms of their divorce, but they may have children, pregnancy, or spousal maintenance to take into account.
Here, spouses agree on the best ways to handle these difficult decisions. They voluntarily produce any needed information regarding financial disclosures, child support and spousal maintenance disbursements, and arrange a visitation (also called time-sharing) schedule that both agree on.
By being in agreement, spouses can complete preparation and document gathering for their case in as little as 3 weeks. Once the case is filed, it is only another 3 months on average to get a court date to make your decree final.
An initially contested divorce is by far the most common type of proceeding. In these cases, spouses generally agree that they should divorce but they don’t agree on the terms of their separation.
Each disagreement is considered a separate contested issue which the counsel of both spouses works diligently to resolve without the need for trial. Divorces of this kind follow these steps:
For more in-depth information on the divorce process, see our article on the topic.
There is a common misconception that an initially contested divorce and a contested divorce are the same proceedings. They are not.
The main difference here is that in a contested divorce, the issues raised between parties cannot be resolved through litigation or mediation. Thus, a trial is needed.
For a contested divorce, you can expect to follow a similar timeline to an initially contested divorce, providing you add additional time to discovery and trial. As such, anywhere from several weeks to several months will be added to the case. How much time is needed depends entirely on the issues at hand.
In Florida, trials can last up to two weeks. At your final hearing, the judge will issue a judgement which solidifies and makes permanent the terms of your divorce.
While understanding how the different types of divorce can influence your timeline, there is no way to determine how long your divorce will really take until you speak with an attorney. After assessing the particularities of your situation, your attorney can advise you on an approximation of how long your case may take, barring anything unforeseen.
For this reason, finding a family law attorney who you trust with your case is one of the most important steps in your divorce process.
Dave Roy Law, located conveniently in West Palm Beach, can handle all your divorce needs. Staffed with experienced lawyers, there is very little we have not seen. If you are looking to begin your divorce proceeding, start on the right foot by contacting us at 561-729-0095 to schedule an appointment.