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How Long Does it Take to Finalize a Divorce?


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Calculating how long it takes to get finalize a divorce comprising of factors like where you reside, whether the state you reside in has a – cooling-off – period or separation period requirement, if you’re filing for a no fault divorce or fault-based one, and whether your divorce is a contested or un-contested one.

Prior to you filing for divorce, you’ll likely want to find out how long it takes to acquire one. The answer is going to depend on a number of factors. Altering any one of these factors can impact how long the divorce process will take.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce?

The time it takes for acquiring a divorce to get finalized is impacted by:

Where you reside whether

  • your state has a waiting or – cooling off period
  • it has a period of separation requirement
  • you’ve fulfilled the residency requirements

In addition to if

  • you’re filing for a fault-based or no-fault one
  • you’re able to locate your spouse to have divorce papers served
  • your divorce is contested— in which you and your spouse cannot resolve major matters, making a trial probable
  • your divorce is an un-contested one—where each matters are resolved
  • you have costly assets and businesses that need to be valued for their net worth
  • there are severe challenges concerning custody, maybe needing a forensic psychologist to assess the family
  • your local family court has an accumulation of cases
  • you trust that there aren’t any concealed assets

Cooling-Off Period and Periods of Separation

Whether or not you could have a somewhat quick divorce could depend on your state and if it has a required waiting or cooling-off period. A cooling-off period will be the time you are required to wait prior to getting divorced. The waiting period enables you to think about reconciling or to adjust to your new circumstances.

When you read through articles regarding what a state’s waiting period is, you are going to get different and usually wrong answers. How long it takes to get divorced is going to be subject on what the waiting period is in the state you live in.

Many states are devoid of a waiting period, while others have them: California’s is a 6-month period. Tennessee’s is a ninety-days when there are children involved and a sixty-day period without them.

In many states, you aren’t even able file for divorce unless you have been separated for a particular amount of time—usually one year. Verify with a family attorney to determine the waiting period in your state and if you are required to be living separated and apart for a particular period of time.

Residency Provisions

Residency provisions could increase the time it will take for your divorce to be finalized. You need to fulfill your state’s residency provisions prior to you filing for divorce. A family lawyer is able to let you know of these requirements.

If Your Divorce Is a No-Fault or Fault-Based One

You are able to file for no-fault divorces in every state. No-fault divorces are where no one is at fault for the breakup of the marriage. Many states also enable you to file a divorce based on blame. Meaning you are able to claim infidelity, harsh and barbaric treatment, and/or other grounds for divorce.

When you’re attempting to slow down the divorce process, when you file for a fault based divorce it accomplishes that since you are required to demonstrate grounds for divorce during a hearing or during trial. Your spouse might file a fault-based divorce trying to stop the divorce. A lot of the time, filing for a fault-based divorce won’t stop the divorce, but it is going to make the whole process take longer.

Serving Divorce Papers on Your Spouse

When your spouse evades getting served with divorce papers, the divorce is going to take longer. Occasionally spouses monkey around when it comes to getting divorce papers served. When this happens, use a process server.

Uncontested Divorces Are Faster to Finalize

Uncontested divorces are faster since there is no trial. You both sign the necessary papers, including a marital settlement arrangement. This enables your case to move faster through court. The judge only needs to see your papers, be sure they are in order, and then allow the divorce.

No-fault and uncontested divorces are going to be the quickest way to getting divorced since you both agree about everything. Dependent on your state, your divorce could take from a couple of weeks to several months.

Contested Divorces Are Going To Take Longer to Finalize

When your divorce is a contested one, it possibly might take a lot longer. Contested divorces, where at a minimum of one major matter that can’t be resolved, will usually involve a trial on any unresolved matters.

When you add time for trial and also the mandatory waiting period, the divorce process could take upwards of a year.

The County Court’s Workload

How long is a divorce going to take in your county? When your family or matrimonial court has a accumulation of cases, your divorce case is going to be longer. Your case is required to be on the court’s schedule prior to a judge granting your divorce.

When your county has a large populous, it is possible the court will have a large list of cases before of yours. The large list of cases is going to add additional time to your divorce.

How Complex The Issues Are

How long will it take to get divorces when your situation is complex? When your case comprises of a lot of property, has convoluted matters concerning assets and/or visitation, or includes challenging custody matters, then your divorce is going to take longer than others.

When you are able to get your spouse to agree on those matters, your divorce can be accomplished faster. Even challenging cases can be resolved by a matrimonial settlement agreement and move faster through court.

When Your Spouse Is Concealing Assets

Be sure that you trust your spouse to having made a total disclosure about assets. When you believe that all assets have been disclosed, speak with a family lawyer. Whereas it is going to slow down the divorce, you don’t want to miss out on assets you could be entitled to.

How Do I Make My Divorce Go Faster?

There are a lot of ways to make your divorce go faster. The ideal way is to come to an agreement with your spouse on:

  • The Dividing of property and debt
  • Custody and visitation
  • Child support
  • Spousal maintenance
  • Health and/or life insurance
  • Any other matters that are required to be resolved

Be sure you fulfill your state’s residency requirements. Also be sure your divorce documentation is correct and complete, so you will not have to do them over.

In states that have a mandatory waiting period, you might be able to get a waiver when you and your spouse agree to it or when you demonstrate just cause for the waiver. Speak with a family lawyer to discover steps you could take to have your divorce finalized properly and fast.


  1. DeLoe, R. (2019, February 19). How long does a divorce take? Retrieved June 17, 2021, from


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