A divorce can be a financially and emotionally tough experience to go through. However, it doesn’t have to take months or years to resolve. If both parties are willing to negotiate in good faith, a marriage can be dissolved in as little as a few weeks. Lets take a look at some of the factors that go into how long it takes to finalize a divorce.
Is the Divorce Contested or Uncontested?
In an uncontested divorce, both sides acknowledge that the marriage cannot be salvaged and have come to an agreement regarding property division and support matters. In some cases, matters related to child support or child custody will need to be decided in court, but it may still be possible to resolve those issues quickly. In a contested divorce, each person will need to hire an attorney, go through the discovery process and possibly spend time in court. This could stretch out the process for several months or years depending on the scope of the issues that need to be resolved.
How Is the Divorce Being Resolved?
If a divorce is contested, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be resolved amicably and in a timely manner. Instead of going to court, it may be easier to go through mediation or a collaborative divorce. The mediation process involves both parties meeting separately with a mediator. His or her job is to spur discussion and coax both sides into making a deal. Collaborative divorce involves one attorney working with both sides simultaneously to get a deal done as quickly and painlessly as possible. Other experts may also be present to offer emotional support if needed.
How Long Does It Take Each Person to Respond to the Divorce?
A divorce is going to take longer to resolve if one party doesn’t agree that a divorce is necessary. It can also take longer to finalize if the person who wants a divorce cannot locate the other spouse or cannot serve the other spouse for any reason. Depending on where you live, there may need to be a period of separation before a divorce may proceed or become official. Furthermore, you may need to establish residency where you plan to file, which could take anywhere from 30 days to an entire year.
Are Both Sides Being Honest and Upfront?
It isn’t uncommon for one side to hide assets or for one person to delay the divorce process in an effort to punish their former spouse. For instance, personal assets could be hidden by transferring them to other parties or holding them as assets in a shell company. Instead of coming to a realistic custody agreement, one person may want sole custody or both sides may argue for sole custody out of spite.
The amount of time it takes to settle a divorce case depends mostly on how motivated each side is to get a deal done. It may also depend on how much each person knows about the couple’s finances as well as what may be needed to survive after the divorce as it can go a long way toward creating a realistic settlement quickly. Regardless of how long it does take, it may be a good idea to hire or at least consult with an attorney who may be able to review the case and answer any questions you may have.
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