How Long Does a Divorce Take? The Timeline Explained

Are you wondering how long does a divorce take? If yes, you should check out our guide here on the length of the divorce process.

How Long Does a Divorce Take? The Timeline Explained
How Long Does a Divorce Take? The Timeline Explained

If you decide to end your marriage with a divorce, you’re not alone. Approximately 40% to 50% of all married couples make this decision.

To go through with it, though, you’ll need to visit a divorce lawyer to get the process rolling.

One of the questions you may want to ask the lawyer is, “How long does a divorce take?”

This question is one that couples commonly ask, but it’s hard to determine the answer to this question without factoring in a few essential variables.

While you may not know precisely how long your divorce might take when you file for it, learning about the timeline of it may be helpful.

So, here is a guide to help you understand the timeline of a typical divorce case.

Step One: Filing for Divorce

The divorce process will not start until you or your spouse initiates it. If your goal is to get it over as quickly as possible, you should go to a law firm as soon as you can to file the necessary documents.

When you initiate a divorce, you will have to complete some paperwork while at your attorney’s office. The attorney will then file the documents with this court, and this is what starts the divorce process.

From this point, it may take a month or longer for your divorce to go through.

You should realize, too, that there are different methods to use for your divorce. The traditional process requires separate lawyers for both spouses. If you want to find out how to handle your divorce with a different method, talk to your attorney.

Step Two: Serving the Papers

One thing that happens after you file the papers is that you must serve them to your spouse. You can serve them yourself, or you can use a different method. To learn about the options available, ask your lawyer.

The divorce process starts when you file the documents, but it cannot go any further until your spouse receives them. Therefore, you should choose a method that will provide a way for your spouse to receive them quickly.

Step Three: Waiting for the Mandatory Wait Time to End

The next step in the timeline of a divorce is the waiting period. Most states have some type of waiting period that is mandatory in divorce cases, and they often call this a cooling-off period.

If you live in Georgia, the cooling-off period is only 30 days. Some states have periods that are much longer than this. The longest is 12 months. Georgia offers one of the shortest cooling-off periods of all states.

The 30 days begins from the date your spouse receives the divorce papers. This period prevents you from finalizing your divorce for at least 30 days from the date your spouse receives the papers.

Due to this required waiting time, you should expect your divorce to take at least 30 days. It is unlikely, though, that you could settle everything within one month.

You should expect it to take longer than this. The 30 days is simply the minimum amount of time a divorce may take. Most cases take significantly longer than one month.

Step Four: Negotiating on the Settlement

One step that takes the longest amount of time in an average case is the negotiation stage.

Negotiating is a process that you must complete before you can finalize the divorce. You will have to work with your lawyer, while your spouse works with his or hers. The two lawyers then discuss the details and issues and try to agree on each item.

If you and your spouse have few assets to divide, it may be easier to reach an agreement on how to share them. If you have a lot of assets, the situation becomes more complicated.

Children are another issue you’ll have to settle if you have kids with your spouse. Coming up with a mutual agreement on this issue is not always easy.

Dividing debts is another common item that couples must settle in a divorce.

The time it takes for your divorce to go through will highly depend on how many things you must settle and how willing you both are to bargain and compromise.

Your divorce will drag out a lot longer if you, your spouse, or both of you are not willing to compromise with the decisions.

Additionally, if you can’t decide on specific items, you’ll place those decisions in the hands of the judge who hears your case.

Step Five: Waiting for the Final Dissolution Hearing

When you reach an agreement on every issue or decide to let the judge decide on matters, your lawyer will request a hearing for dissolution. A dissolution hearing is the final hearing of a case.

Depending on how busy the court is at the time, you may be able to get a hearing within a couple of weeks, or you may have to wait a few months.

Waiting for a hearing often extends the time it takes for a divorce to go through.

If you want to speed up the process, ask your lawyer to schedule this hearing right away. By getting this planned right away, you’ll have a timeframe to work with. Knowing the date might encourage you both to work hard to settle.

Learn More to Find Out “How Long Does a Divorce Take?

After reading through this guide, did it answer the question, “How long does a divorce take?” Hopefully, you have a better understanding of what to expect.

If you still have questions about the timeline of a divorce, check out our site. We have a lot of informative information on divorces that you can read.

 

 

 

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