How long does a divorce take?

An “uncontested divorce” (a matter in which all issues are agreed between the parties before the divorce is filed) can usually be accomplished in sixty to eighty days from the date on which the petition was filed (or sooner if the Court agrees there is an “emergency” which justifies shortening the required 60-day waiting period).

A “contested divorce” (a matter in which there is any item, such as property division, support or child custody upon which the parties don’t agree) can delay the final hearing for many weeks or months, because more time must be reserved on the Court’s calendar for presentation of the evidence. A contested action may not be heard for three to twelve months from the date the petition was filed.

The length of time any domestic relations action takes depends heavily on the emotional and psychological status of both parties. There are times when a divorce may take months even though the parties have little, if any, disputes between them because one or both parties need time to feel comfortable with their decision. There are other times when, though significant disputes exist, the parties are able to present those issues for decision by a court relatively quickly.

Even so, the vast majority of all cases, uncontested and contested, are agreeably resolved by the parties without the need for a trial at some point in the process. That is because as the case proceeds, both the parties and their attorneys gain more information and usually come to a realization of what the assigned judge will likely do in their particular case.