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How long until the divorce is finalized after a response is filed?

October 4, 2017

When a response to being served a divorce is filed, the length of time that it takes for the divorce to be finalized depends on the response itself and the state. For a response to be filed in the first place, one spouse must have filed for divorce and served the other spouse. In a response, the spouse responding can either agree or disagree with the information or demands detailed in the divorce petition, and this decision then affects how long it can take for the divorce to be official.

If a respondent agrees with the petition, the case is considered uncontested, meaning that the two parties agree on the terms and demands and do not need a judge to make any decisions for them. Uncontested divorces can be resolved relatively quick, but the length of time is still contingent on the state that they are in. Different states require different waiting periods after a divorce petition is filed, so the court cannot officially grant a divorce until this waiting period is up even if an agreement between the two parties is already reached. For example, the waiting period in California is six months from the date that the other spouse (the spouse getting served) is notified about the divorce while the waiting period in Arizona is 60 days. After this waiting period, a divorce can be granted anywhere from around a month to several months depending, again, on the state.

On the other hand, if the respondent disagrees with the petition, the case becomes contested, and contested cases typically take longer than uncontested. If an agreement cannot be reached between two parties after the disagreeing response is filed and the end of the waiting period, the case continues uncontested and must be decided by a judge through a trial. The time it takes for a divorce to be finalized is usually substantially more from an uncontested divorce because in addition to the time of the waiting period, there must be time for the trial itself. With the case having to go to trial, the amount of cases in the county the divorce was filed in can also affect the amount of time. If a court has a lot of cases to see already, the case can be backed up, and the time it takes to finalize the divorce then can additionally increase. Furthermore, for both contested and uncontested cases, there are actually some states, like Oklahoma, that impose a waiting period after the divorce is granted for remarriage, meaning that one cannot remarry until a certain amount of time has passed from the date of when the divorce was official.

Unfortunately, there is no set amount of time for how long it can take for a divorce to be finalized after a response is filed. It truly depends on what type of response the response is and the state. If a more accurate prediction of the length of time the divorce will take is needed, however, more detailed information can be acquired by looking at the specific state’s rules and regulations regarding waiting periods and divorce.

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