If you are planning to divorce in the near future, it’s natural to have lots of questions and concerns about what you can expect from your divorce proceedings. There are several options for handling your divorce effectively, and it’s vital to weigh these options carefully in the preliminary stages of your divorce case. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions and their answers regarding the typical divorce timeline. If you are unsure about how long your divorce may take to complete, review the following information so you can approach this challenging situation with greater confidence and a clearer understanding of how the process is likely to unfold.

Q: Is There a Waiting Period for Divorce?

A: Most states enforce mandatory waiting periods before a divorce can be granted. This timeframe varies from state to state. Depending on where you live, you could face a 30-day waiting period or a six-month waiting period. Once the divorce petition is filed, this waiting period begins. However, most divorces will require longer to resolve, so your waiting period will likely expire before you completely settle all issues involved in your divorce.

Divorce Timeline FAQs

Q: When Should I File for Divorce?

A: If you want to finalize your divorce as quickly as possible, then you plan on filing your divorce petition as soon as possible. However, it is essential to think carefully about whether you are really ready to begin the divorce process. Once a divorce petition is filed, this event kicks off formal legal proceedings you will need to address. It’s best to consult with an experienced divorce attorney before filing a divorce petition so you can better prepare for the subsequent divorce proceedings.

Q: How Long Will My Divorce Take?

A: It’s natural to worry about how long your divorce will take to complete, and there are several methods you could explore to make your divorce faster and easier. An uncontested divorce is the fastest method, but this would require you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse to agree to every aspect of your divorce agreement as soon as you file your divorce petition. Joint petitions are possible with uncontested divorces, but almost every divorce case will involve at least one issue the couple must resolve before a divorce is finalized.

It is difficult to determine an “average” timeline for any given divorce case. Each case is unique, and numerous factors can influence the overall timeframe a divorce requires to complete. Some couples are able to finalize their divorce within a few months, while more complex cases can take longer than a year to completely resolve. If you have concerns about the potential timeline for your specific divorce case, consult your attorney for a reasonable estimate.

Q: Is Alternative Dispute Resolution Faster Than Litigation?

A: In almost all cases, alternative dispute resolution will allow a divorcing couple to finalize their divorce much faster than litigation would allow. If you proceed with divorce litigation, you and your spouse can expect an experience similar to any other civil case. Both parties in divorce litigation have the opportunity to submit evidence and documentation for the judge’s consideration and testify in court. In most cases, alternative dispute resolution not only enables a swifter divorce but also provides the divorcing couple with greater control over the outcome of their divorce. If you litigate, the judge has the final say on every aspect of your divorce.

Q: What Can I Do to Reduce the Time Required to Complete Divorce?

A: Divorce is an inherently emotional issue, and it can be difficult for divorcing spouses to remain objective during this challenging experience. However, there are a few proactive steps anyone can take that can potentially reduce the time required to complete their divorces:

  • Carefully discuss your divorce with your spouse before filing a divorce petition. Once you submit your divorce petition to the family court, you will begin the formal divorce process. If possible, you and your spouse should negotiate as much as you can privately before proceeding with formal steps toward divorce.
  • Explore alternative dispute resolution. Taking advantage of collaborative divorce or mediation is arguably the best way to speed up your divorce timeline. Even if you think you and your spouse fight too much to have productive negotiations, it’s worth taking time to evaluate the potential benefits alternative dispute resolution could offer both of you.
  • Hire an experienced attorney. Perhaps the most important decision you will make regarding your divorce is your selection of attorney. Even if you think you and your spouse are agreeable enough that you could manage your divorce alone, it is always best to have reliable legal representation who can clarify nebulous legal statutes and guide you through each phase of the divorce process. If you want to save time with your divorce, your attorney is the best resource you can have to determine the most viable options for streamlining your proceedings.
  • Be proactive in gathering evidence and documentation. You will need to produce a substantial amount of documentation to complete your divorce, particularly in regard to your financial disclosure. Once you have decided to end your marriage, it is best to start gathering the materials you will need for the process as quickly as possible.

These best practices can potentially help you save a substantial amount of time on your divorce, which can translate to savings on legal fees since your attorney will need to spend less time handling your case. Ultimately, every divorce is unique, so there is no single “best” method for streamlining divorce proceedings.

It’s natural to be anxious about more than just the potential timeline for your divorce, and reliable legal counsel is an invaluable asset during a challenging situation like a difficult divorce case. If you are unsure how to proceed with your divorce or simply want to save as much time as possible as you work towards finalizing your divorce agreement, contact an experienced divorce attorney to get the answers and guidance you need to approach your divorce with greater confidence.