How long will my divorce take?

The biggest factor - by far - for how long your divorce will take is whether the divorce is contested or uncontested.

If you and your soon-to-be ex can reach an agreement on how everything will be divided, how custody and visitation will go for any children, and the amount of any child support or alimony, an attorney can memorialize your agreement into a legally binding form within one to two weeks. If both of you sign off on these documents for filing, the court must wait 31 days before taking any action, and then can enter the final order at any time - usually 2-3 weeks after that waiting period has ended. If there are additional revisions and clarifications to make, which there usually are, the uncontested divorce process is usually wrapped up within 3-4 months. 

If you can't reach an agreement, the process naturally takes much longer. In that case, the parties need to disclose and exchange information (called discovery), attend mediation to attempt to resolve the disputed issues, and attend one or more hearings in court. A more simple contested divorce where there's disagreement about what you want but nothing else can usually be handled within about 6 months. Factors that will prolong the process are:

  • children
  • less typical assets to be divided, like businesses
  • one or both parties seeking substantially more than 1/2 of the marital property
  • a party seeking alimony
  • one party living out of state
  • disagreements over the valuation of major assets like the marital home
  • secrecy by either party regarding disclosure of information or assets

While the length of the process can understandably be very frustrating, The Lilly Law Firm prides itself on handling cases as quickly as can be done without sacrificing your results.