How Long Does a Divorce Take, Really?
On average, divorces take about a year to complete. With that said, the length of the proceedings will largely depend on two factors: where you’re located, and how cooperative you and your ex can be. On average, divorces that go to trial or have issues take about 17 months to complete. In terms of time, it really pays to be civil and cooperative with your ex.
State-Mandated Waiting Periods
Just about every state in the U.S. has a required waiting period before a divorce can be completed. This waiting period gives couples a chance to carefully negotiate the terms of their divorce settlement and to potentially change their minds about the divorce altogether. It also gives parents enough time to learn about co-parenting and discuss child custody arrangements.
It’s important to note that:
- Most states require a 30-90 day waiting period before a divorce can be finalized. Some states require up to 12 months.
There are a few states that will require couples to take a period of separation before they can even file for divorce.
Your attorney will explain the length of the waiting period and let you know if your state requires a separation period before filing for divorce.
Conflict Will Lengthen a Divorce
In the best case scenario, you’re looking at about 11 months for your divorce to be finalized. But that’s only if you and your ex can manage to settle all of your issues out of court and with little conflict along the way.
If you can agree on all of the issues (which is a rarity), it’s smooth sailing to the signing of the divorce decree. The divorce will likely be finalized as soon as the waiting period expires.
If you have a contested divorce (you and your spouse disagree on the issues), the process can be quite lengthy. You and your spouse will need to at least attempt to negotiate on the issues, including property division, child custody and child support. This process in itself can take several months, depending on how complex the issue is.
When negotiations fail, the divorce will go to trial. A trial will add several more months to the process. It’s not uncommon for divorces that go to trial to take more than a year to complete.
Once the divorce has been finalized, there are a few loose ends that may need to be tied up, like the transferring of property titles, the division of retirement plans and updating insurance and estate plans.
The Micklin Law Group, LLC is a New Jersey law firm specializing in family law and estates. Attorney Brad Micklin was recently named to The National Advocates list of Top 100 attorneys from each state. Brad has a special expertise in working with high asset divorces. You can read more on this topic by visiting our Divorce blog. To set up a consultation, call 973-562-0100.