How long will it take for my divorced to be finalized after I respond?
The time frame for your divorce, after you respond, will vary depending on your state and the circumstances surrounding the divorce. If there is conflict regarding division of property, spousal support or anything else, then you and your spouse will likely need to go to court, which can prolong the proceedings.
Divorces typically take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, although there are situations that can result in a divorce taking over a year. Here are the questions that will determine how long your divorce is likely to take.
What state do you reside in?
Your state is a significant factor in how quickly your divorce will go, because each state has different divorce laws and time frames.
You can file for divorce in any state that you’re a resident of, and your spouse can do the same. Residency requirements when it comes to filing for divorce will vary by state. For example, California requires that you live in the state at least six months before filing for divorce there, whereas Arizona has a requirement of 90 days to establish residency.
Your spouse doesn’t need to be a resident of the same state where you’re filing for divorce. If he isn’t, the state may give him more time to respond.
After you or your spouse has responded to the divorce, your state comes into play again. Certain states allow divorce courts to grant your divorce as soon as you and your spouse agree to terms, which means it could happen shortly after a response. Other states require spouses to wait a set amount of time before the divorce can be finalized.
For example, if the divorce is taking place in California, there’s a mandatory six-month waiting period for a divorce. This waiting period begins after one spouse files the petition for divorce and serves the other with papers, not after a response is made. Let’s say that your spouse files for divorce and has you served on January 1. You have 30 days to respond, and you do so on January 15. The court can finalize your divorce on July 1, because that’s six-months after the petition was filed and you were served.
Is the divorce contested or uncontested?
There are several things that you and your spouse must decide when getting a divorce. All couples will need to figure out how they’re dividing their marital property. If a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement was involved, this will be much easier, although the court will still evaluate the agreement to ensure that’s fair for both parties.
If you and your spouse have children, you’ll need to determine what type of custody arrangement you’ll have, if one of you will be paying child support and if so, how much.
Even if you and your spouse are working together to make the divorce go as smoothly as possible, you should each still have your own attorneys to represent you during the process.
An uncontested divorce is the fastest and most convenient option, provided you aren’t concerned about your spouse hiding any of his assets. If the court finds that your agreement is fair for both sides, it will approve the divorce after any mandatory waiting period is over. Keep in mind that you can use that waiting period to set up your divorce agreement.
If you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement, then you’ll have a contested divorce and both of you will need to go to court. The divorce court may require you both to work with a mediator first to see if you can figure out an agreement that you’re both happy with.
Going to trial can extend the divorce process considerably. This is especially true when one party attempts to drag out the proceedings through unnecessary motions or other methods.
Estimating How Long Your Divorce Will Take
If you have an uncontested divorce, you can get an idea of how long it will take by checking your state’s laws. Your divorce attorney can explain these to you and likely provide you with a general idea of how long the divorce will take.
To move your divorce along as quickly as possible, you’ll want to have a skilled divorce attorney to represent you. Your attorney can help you negotiate with your spouse in a contested divorce so you two can reach an agreement.