How Long Does a Divorce Take?

Going through the divorce process is never going to be easy.

It has either come about because both of you are in an agreement about divorcing or one of you has filed.

Whatever the circumstances that lead to this moment, it all comes down to how long you both will be going through this.

In today’s article, we will be discussing how long it can take to divorce someone as well as what else may factor into the divorce time frame.

How Long Does a Divorce Take?

There are quite a few things that will affect the timeline of the divorce process, the average time is said to be around 1 year, however, there are some factors that can shorten it (an uncontested divorce) or draw it out even longer (a contested divorce).

Regardless of the type of divorce, the process usually begins with filing for divorce in court. The court then typically grants a decree nisi to the divorce seeker. If you are unfamiliar with this term, here is a decent article about decree nisi application that provides a useful explanation. In essence, decree nisi is the initial step in the divorce process and allows the spouses to live separately. Eventually, the court provides a decree absolute that makes the divorce final and legally enforceable. After the decree absolute is issued, the couple is no more married and can remarry.

Here are some things that you will need to think about when you file the initial divorce paperwork.

Where You Live

Your state may have something called a ‘cooling-off period’, a required period of separation, or you may need to satisfy the residency requirements.

This should be told to you when dealing with your divorce case, so you are aware of what it will take to follow through with the divorce proceedings.

What Kind of Divorce Are You Filing For?

If you are filing a fault-based divorce this means that one spouse proves that the other spouse did something that resulted in the breakdown of the marriage, on the other side, if you are filing for a no-fault divorce, you are both getting a divorce without the need to outline any bad behavior or fault of the spouse.

What Else You Will Need to Take Into Account

  • If you were able to hand the divorce papers to your spouse.
  • If you are having an uncontested divorce with all issues being resolved or a contested divorce where a trial date may be set for you both to go through the court system.
  • Are there expensive assets or a business that needs to be dealt with?
  • Are there issues pertaining to child custody?
  • Are you looking for child support or spousal support?
  • Is there a backlog of cases in family court?

A lot can affect the waiting period, and even an uncontested divorce can have issues along the way if there are other outside factors, including delays with paperwork such as the couple’s financials.

Getting a Divorce Lawyer

It is essential that you find a family law attorney who understands what you are looking for.

There are many divorce attorneys out there that can offer you their services, but you need to make sure that they are the right fit for you and your case.

Go online and check out a local family law firm or two and see what they can provide for you with your divorce (if you are going to be making court appearances and need to deal with settling disagreements).

You should have consultations with the ones you have picked to see if they are a good fit.

Legal Separation vs Divorce

In some cases, couples may file for legal separation instead of divorce. This means that the marriage has not been ended, just that both parties are able to live separately yet they still remain legally married. They may do so after consulting with Family Law Solicitors Norton Peskett or similarly knowledgeable attorneys who might give them appropriate advice on their issue. Sometimes divorce is not always the first and best course of action, and a good lawyer will be able to tell you that.

However, during a separation, the spousal issues still need to be resolved and they are usually similar to the ones argued in divorce, so couples have to decide if getting legally separated is better than getting a divorce.

An In-Depth Look at What Could Affect The Waiting Period Out

Sometimes the divorce process is quick and painless with your final divorce documents being signed and all the parties agreeing on what they need to do, however, this isn’t always so straightforward, and there are times when it takes a lot longer to get a divorce decree.

To get a personal estimate on how long a divorce will take in your situation, your divorce attorney should be able to talk you through what will happen and how similar divorce cases such as yours have been handled in the past.

But, that doesn’t mean that yours will be the exact same, anything can change the outcome and waiting period.

Uncontested Divorces

With uncontested divorces, there are hardly any roadblocks in the way when the divorce petition is handed in.

You and your spouse have signed the papers which include a marital settlement agreement that will outline child custody, child support, spousal support, and so on.

This will mean that your case will move quickly through the court because the judge has nothing to take issue with, they just need to do a quick check to see that all the papers are in order and then sign off.

Depending on the state you file for divorce in, it should only take about several months, sometimes that can be reduced to one month as long as there isn’t a backlog in family court.

Contested Divorces

If the parties involved do not agree on specific things, and they cannot find an end that both will be happy with, this is classed as a contested divorce and it will take couples a lot longer to get their divorce finalized.

It will often involve a trial on the unresolved issues and this can mean that the divorce proceedings will take over a year especially if both sides are refusing to back down.

Residency Requirements

These types of requirements can increase the time it takes for divorces to be finalized. You will have to meet your state’s residency requirements before you are able to file for divorce.

Going For a Fault-Based or No-Fault Divorce

No-fault will help speed up the process as both spouses have agreed that there is nothing they wish to bring up to the court about their marriage breaking down, and they are happy to go with no one being at fault.

On the other side of this is fault-based divorce which can make the process a lot slower. A spouse may do this to stop this from going ahead and stopping the divorce entirely, however, that doesn’t normally work and it just prolongs the time frame.

The spouse who files for a fault-based divorce will need to prove in court why they wish to blame their spouse and prove that they have grounds for divorce.

The Complexity of What Is Going On

If you and your spouse are in a complicated spot, this can make the divorce process a lot longer as there are quite a few things that will need to be ironed out before the judge can sign and say your marriage has ended.

There may be many factors that might be running through your mind. You might be thinking: How is spousal support determined? What will be the final verdict when it comes to child custody? Where will you move to if you need to? What will follow when it comes to property division?

Any one of these can cause the proceedings to go on for a lot longer., And if there are multiple issues that are being taken into account, this can add more and more time. This means the draining of finances and more time in court trying to sort out the issues on both sides.

It is important that both spouses agree on what needs to be done and they are happy with the outcomes.

One Spouse is Hiding Something From The Other

If you suspect that your spouse is hiding some assets from you, then you need to check and see if everything has been disclosed.

If you feel like they haven’t then it is time for you to speak to your attorney and see what the best way is to proceed.

This can mean that the divorce takes a lot longer to end and there will be decisions made in court, but if you really want to have part or all of those assets, then you will need to go through this process.

What is The Fastest Way to Speed Up a Divorce?

The fastest way to get your divorce done and dusted in a good amount of time is to reach an agreement with your spouse.

It can be hard to do, especially if the marriage ended in a bad way or you do not want the divorce in the first place, but, if you can reach an agreement on important things then you will be able to stop dragging this out and be able to move on.


So, how long does a divorce take?

That depends on what you want and how you handle it.

Going through a divorce is life-altering and shocking, but, sometimes there is no other way and you have to get it started.

It can be a particularly tough time, so always ensure that you have the right legal team backing you and you are fully aware of your rights as well as what you may be potentially facing if it comes to you going to court.

If you have children involved, then it is essential that you put them before your own needs as they are going to be going through it too, and they need to know that they have parents who love and care for them even with all of this going on.

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