How long does the divorce process take?

How long does the divorce process take?

So you are about to file for divorce and you want to know a few preliminary things like how much of your life and time will be wrapped up in this experience? How long will it take?

Getting divorced takes a lot longer than getting married (marriage and divorce are polar opposites, as we’ve said a million times on this divorce blog). But exactly how long does it take? The answer is, it depends. On a lot of things. Like, the nature of the divorce; the parties; the county where you file your divorce papers; the judge; the state; and so many variables.

Listen to this podcast about 8 Frequently asked questions answered by a divorce attorney.

If the divorce is uncontested it will take less time than if it is contested just about anywhere that the case is heard. However, even with an uncontested divorce the time it takes will vary depending on the Court and the judge and even the nature of the action. I’ve seen uncontested divorces take up to six months from the date of filing. This has nothing to do with the divorce lawyers usually. It is really about the judg and how crowded the judge’s calendar is.

If there are children involved, significant assets and property or other issues, even if the parties agree on everything, it may take longer not only to complete the paperwork (the attorneys) but for the judge to review the papers to make sure they comply with the applicable divorce laws and to make sure that the best interest of the children of the divorce are provided for, and thus sign off on the final judgment. 

So, how long does the divorce process take – start to finish? On average I would say an uncontested divorce takes about 3 months and a contested divorce takes about 9 months to a year. Again, I said on average. The duration of different cases differ for different reasons. Some cases have taken up to five years before a judgment of divorce is signed. And I’ve seen uncontested cases take as little as six weeks.

Now, if you are contemplating divorce, remember that divorce can cost a lot more than you suspect. And you should always consider the hidden costs of divorce before you make a final decision. Read about the hidden costs of divorce before you go to the next post.

The hidden costs of divorce: You’ll never suspect how much you really pay for a divorce

Original version published November 13, 2006


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1 Comment for “How long does the divorce process take?”

  1. Keep in mind, the whole purpose of the divorce process is to give the husband and the wife plenty of time to negotiate a mutually favorable settlement outside of court. When both parties are reasonable in their demands, the divorce lasts 2 – 4 months (here in Oklahoma). When one of the parties is unreasonable in their demands the divorce lengthens to 6 – 8 months.

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