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How long will it take for my divorced to be finalized after I respond?

The answer to this question depends on several factors, such as if the divorce is contested or uncontested, the judge assigned to the case, the county where the divorce is filed, whether the parties involved are agreeable or adversarial. Though it would be ideal in such a stressful time to know the exact timeline, it isn’t one solid answer for all cases. Divorces have been filed and finalized in six weeks to six months, and it all depends on the nature of each individual case.

The state where the petition is filed can also affect the length of time it takes to get to finalization. In New York, an uncontested or “no-fault” divorce usually takes about three months. If the divorce is contested or a “fault” divorce, it can take from nine months to one year for finalization. Even for uncontested divorce cases, there aren’t solid timelines, just average guides.

Divorce is always a more complicated and time-consuming process when there are minor children involved. Even if the parties are amicable regarding the status of the children in the marriage, there are extra documents which need to be filed, approved and finalized. If there are major assets such as property, bank accounts, and investments, these can also affect the amount of time it can take.

There are usual steps that are taken in divorce cases though not all may apply to you, and there may be extra steps depending on your case. Only your attorney can advise you regarding whether you will go through all of these steps or if any extra steps need to be taken.

General Procedrual Steps In The Divorce Timeline

1. File Petition for Dissolution of Marriage

2. Summons and Petition Served to Spouse

3. Response and Counter-Petition
(Your spouse will respond to the petition of divorce. They can file a no contest, contest or not respond to the petition at all. Your attorney will advise if this occurs.)

4. Temporary Hearings
(Motions can be filed for temporary orders such as child support, parenting plans, and if necessary restraining orders against a spouse.)

5. Discovery
(Discovery is a phase in which you can obtain information from your spouse, they can obtain information from you, as well as discover whether third parties such as possible witnesses may be entering the proceedings.)

6. Mediation
(A mediator may be called in at this point if the parties seeking to resolve issues are unable to resolve things by themselves. A mediator is an outside party that isn’t affiliated with either party.)

7. Settlement
(Even if both you and your spouse agree on everything regarding the dissolution of your marriage, the details of your dissolution still need to be documented and filed with the courts, and will await final approval before the last step of granting the divorce is taken.)

8. Trial
(If both parties and their attorneys are unable to come to an amicable agreement of all issues involved, it may be taken to the judge and a request for trial initiated. It will rest with the judge to approve final order and judgments of your divorce.)

9. Post Judgment
As you can see, it is a process that, though it does have an end, is still a process and takes time. These are only guidelines of average procedural steps and the timeline can only be given as a general one. Only your divorce attorney, after learning all of the details of your marriage and reasons for your filing, can provide more extensive details on this question as they are the best person suited to give you a more exacting timeline for finalization.